By Chris Barrett
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – An idea for a container that can quickly heat and cool beverages won a Brown University student $300 Wednesday at the annual elevator pitch contest sponsored by the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition.
Brown University senior Theresa Raimondo had 90 seconds to deliver her pitch to a panel of judges and more than 200 audience members.
Raimondo, niece of General Treasurer-elect Gina Raimondo, presented a concept of using compact thermoelectric technology in a beverage container to heat or cool any drink between 50 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit within 90 seconds.
Raimondo said she and six fellow undergraduate students have been working to develop the concept, called HnC (hot and cold), as part of an entrepreneurship class. The chemical engineering major said that the team believes such a container could revolutionize the beverage market.
The competition attracted 48 aspiring entrepreneurs. Judges had initially intended to whittle the list to 30 for judging but, in a last-minute change, decided to hear everyone. Contestants ranged college students to veteran business people.
“The energy and excitement – along with the record number of participants and observers – indicates just how vigorous, broad and deep the entrepreneurial spirit is in Rhode Island,” said competition Co-chair Larry Davidson. “Everyone, participants and judges alike, did a tremendous job.”
And while judges selected Raimondo as the top winner, they also awarded cash prizes to nine other contestants.
The elevator pitch was a precursor to the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, which will award more than $150,000 in prizes to entrepreneurs that present a business that could blossom in Rhode Island. The deadline to enter the competition is April 4 and winners will be announced in May.