American International College student Abby Duncan takes First Prize.

WEST SPRINGFIELD, MASS. -- An American International College student walked away with the First Prize in the 2012 Elevator Pitch Competition of the 9th Annual Awards Banquet for the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation's Entrepreneurship Initiative Wednesday, April 25.

Event attendees gathered at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, MA Wednesday for a live elevator pitch competition, judged by representatives of six sponsoring local banks: Berkshire Bank, Country Bank for Savings, First Niagra Bank, PeoplesBank, People's United Bank, and United Bank.

As her "elevator pitch," American International College student Abby Duncan presented a Daddy Go-To Kit, a resource for new dads with "all the right stuff" to care for a newborn baby. The Daddy Go-To Kit earned Duncan a First Prize of $1,000.

The Second Prize of $750 was awarded to Thomas McLeod from Western New England University who presented "Waterboy," a bicycle-powered water purification system especially for use in third-world countries.

The Third Prize of $500 was shared by Gabrielle DeAngelis from the University of Massachusetts who pitched "Protect our Breasts," an online community to help women make healthy choices, and Juliana Sleeper from Holyoke Community College for "OneCard," a single loyalty card that serves a universal purpose for the consumer.


An elevator pitch is a brief presentation of an idea, usually covering the core aspects of a business or business proposal.

The name, "elevator pitch," reflects the brevity of the presentation -- it is delivered in about the same amount of time as an average elevator ride. When entreprenuers propose their business ideas and partnerships to venture capitalists in order to receive funding, the proposal is often called "an elevator pitch."


The Elevator Pitch Competition will feature student representatives from each of the participating local colleges:

All participating students will receive a stipend for participating in the competition. The judges will select the top three pitches for additional cash awards.


This is the ninth year that an elevator pitch competition was held at the Awards Banquet for the Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Other Award Banquet program highlights included an Entrepreneurs & Awardees Exhibit featuring the work of 45 student entrepreneurs from area colleges, a keynote address from Mr. Jeremy Pava, CFO of real estate company Aspen Square Management, and the announcement of the Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Alumni Spirit Award.

The Entrepreneurship Initiative is one of several initiatives supported by the philanthropy of Longmeadow, MA resident and businessman, Harold Grinspoon. 

For more information about Harold Grinspoon Foundation initiatives, visit www.hgf.org.