The Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition features student teams in a high-stakes contest to persuade prospective investors to help them turn their Senior Design Projects into effective businesses. Students deliver elevator pitches as they compete for the Ansary Prizes for Entrepreneurship, totaling $17,500.
About the Ansary Foundation
Prizes for the competition are provided by the Cy and Jan Ansary Foundation, which supports education, entrepreneurship and other philanthropic causes. The foundation was established by Cy and Jan Ansary in 1983 to support educational opportunities for promising economically disadvantaged students and to promote interest and teaching of entrepreneurship and business concepts. The Ansary family are prominent international lawyers, financiers, entrepreneurs, educators, authors and philanthropists. The Cy and Jan Ansary Foundation has supported the Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition and Prizes at the Stevens Innovation Expo since 2016, establishing an endowed fund to support the competition and prizes in 2018.
An elevator pitch is a short presentation made by an entrepreneur raising money for a venture. The term describes a pitch that is short enough to be given during an elevator ride during which an entrepreneur has his or her only chance to talk with a potential investor. In the Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition, senior students take their design projects and pitch them to judges as potential businesses.
The competition consists of three rounds:
- A live quarter-final that takes place within each participating academic department. Course instructors choose top teams, which then advance to the next round.
- A semi-final in which 45 teams compete and are scored by a panel of judges, with the top 10 advancing to the final.
- A final round the week of the Expo, in which judges evaluate the 10 selected teams' recorded pitch videos based on presentation, business plan, value proposition, viability and the quality of their request.
The top three teams are announced and celebrated on Innovation Expo day.