Whitman Alum Offers Advice to this Week’s Pitch It! Contenders

As Whitman students are preparing to “pitch” their innovative new ideas at this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week competition – Pitch It!, our own Tabor Martinsen and Fernando Medina Corey were able to sit down with Scott Alderman ’90, an investing partner at Trilogy Equity for a quick interview.  Scott has generously offered to host the winner of this week’s competition to a lunch in Seattle.  Joining them will be the CEO from one of Trilogy’s partner companies.

In this interview, Scott shared his thoughts on the make-up of a good pitch, why Whitman students should learn this valuable skill and what he looks for as he’s assessing the pitch of a new investment opportunity.  See the interview here:

Or by clicking the link below to view it on YouTube.

Join us and cheer on your classmates and friends!

Pitch it logo

Thursday, November 13th  |  5:00 – 6:30 PM  |  Kimball Auditorium


Get Inspired to Pitch It! – Stories From Last Year’s GEW Winners

Last year, three Whitman students participated in and WON the community competition for Global Entrepreneurship Week – Pain in the Glass.  Cody Burchfield ’16, John Lee ’16 and Fernando Medina Corey ’14 created a business plan for Walla Walla Sea Glass and ended up with $1500 for their efforts.

Here are some reflections and thoughts for this year’s event from Cody & John.

Cody Burchfield:

We hold ourselves to very high standards at Whitman and often doubt ourselves when we develop really strong ideas.

Last year, I didn’t think that participating in Global Entrepreneurship Week would be worth my time.

I was wrong.

Fernando Medina Corey and John Lee talked me into participating, and I began developing a prototype of our product: Walla Walla Sea Glass. Our solution proved to be the most feasible option in a city lacking the funds to recycle glass. We were awarded $1,500 for placing first in the business plan competition!

I learned that we hold ourselves to very high standards at Whitman and often doubt ourselves when we develop really strong ideas. I believe that we should push ourselves to participate in efforts to solve our community’s problems. Four years of critical thinking is worthless without real world application.

John Lee:

The opportunity to refine my idea and pitch it to  the judges and potentially a company CEO will be invaluable…

Entrepreneurship has always been one of my primary interests and I am looking forward to participating in this year’s Pitch It! contest. This year I plan to present Letsvid – an idea for a charitable video-based social network I have been working on for two years. I plan on expanding Letsvid to become a larger platform capable of allowing others to share their content whilst benefiting charitable causes. The opportunity to refine my idea and pitch it to  the judges and potentially a company CEO will be invaluable to me as I enter the next stage of planning for Letsvid.

The winning video from last year’s Pain in the Glass contest:

This year’s competition is a pitch competition inspired by the television show Shark Tank.  If you have a product, service or business idea you’d like to pitch, SIGN-UP NOW for Pitch It!.  For details about the competition and an explanation of the guidelines and judging rubric, please contact Kim Rolfe, Director for Business Engagement in the Student Engagement Center.

How do you create change…in the world…in your community…in the marketplace?

It starts with the pitch – a transitive verb meaning to present or advertise… to attempt to persuade… to present for consideration.

It is the What, the Why and the How of the change you wish to create.  It is the essential information you will share about your creation with those you wish to draw into your change – collaborators, community partners, investors, et cetera.   It is your “elevator speech” – the introduction to your “start-up” project – and it’s vital to have a pitch that will engage your audience.

In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Whitman College is collaborating with Walla Walla University, Walla Walla Community College, area high schools and the Chamber of Commerce to host a pitch competition.  Inspired by the television show Shark Tank, the Pitch It! Competition will include a preliminary round of events at each of the local campuses followed by a community-wide competitive event in which winners from each of the campus competitions will Pitch for the Grand Prize – a $500 package to help them advance their concept.

Pitch it logo

In addition to the community prize, Whitman alumnus and Trilogy Equity Partners partner Scott Alderman ’90 has offered a prize for the winner of the Whitman campus event.  Scott will host a lunch in Seattle for the Whitman winner and the CEO from one of the companies Trilogy is currently funding.  The Student Engagement Center will provide travel funds to Seattle for the winning student(s).

All you need is a 2-minute concept pitch for a panel of 3-5 judges – no restrictions on the subject of your pitch, so you can really innovate.  Your pitch will be judged on: the viability of your concept, the content of your pitch and your preparedness for the panel questions.


Schedule of events:

Wednesday, November 13th | Whitman Pitch It! competition – preliminary event

5:00-6:30 PM | Kimball Auditorium


Tuesday, November 18th | Walla Walla Community Pitch It! competition – final event

6:00-7:30 PM | Olin 130 Auditorium

**winner from the Whitman event on the 13th will progress to the community event


For more information about the contest, contact Kim Rolfe, Director for Business Engagement in the Student Engagement Center.

Got an idea for a new service, product or business? Pitch It!

A collective group of schools from around the Walla Walla Valley have joined forces to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) November 17-23, 2014.  GEW is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators, who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

A team has assembled from Whitman, Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla University, College Place High School, Walla Walla High School and the WWV Chamber of Commerce to plan the GEW events that will take place the week of November 17th in and around Walla Walla.

This year, themed “Pitch It!” and inspired by the TV show, Shark Tank, the competition will provide a vehicle for students to design and develop innovative business concepts.  The Pitch It! Competition will challenge students to create a realistic business model for their entrepreneurial idea.  Each institution will host a judged preliminary competition prior to the community event.

The winning idea/student(s) from each institution will progress to the community-wide Pitch It! Competition and Reception on Tuesday, November 18th at Olin Auditorium in Olin Hall on the Whitman College campus.  The event will be held at 6:30PM.

Students will work in 1-2 person teams to create a 7 minute concept pitch to present following the guidelines below to a panel of judges hand chosen from the Walla Walla Valley business community:

  • The first 2 minutes are for the elevator speech portion of the pitch.  Therefore, judges are not to ask questions or otherwise interrupt.
  • The remaining 5 minutes are for the judges to ask questions and for the team to address any concerns
  • At the seven-minute mark, the official timekeeper will notify the participants and the judges that time is up

Judges may address several areas of the business idea/concept in their questioning including topics such as description of service, how the business will generate revenue, ownership model, customer targets, resources, capital needs and more.

The schedule is as follows and all events are open to the public.

Walla Walla University – preliminary round
Pitch It – Wednesday, November 12th @ 2:00 PM

Walla Walla Community College – preliminary round
Pitch It -Thursday, November 13th – 2:00 PM Room 185 A&B

College Place High School – preliminary round
Pitch It – Thursday, November 6th @5:00 PM in the Davis Elementary Gym

Walla Walla High School – preliminary round
Pitch It – Tuesday, November 4th @ 5:00PM in the Wa-Hi Commons

Whitman College – preliminary round
Pitch It – Thursday, November 13th @ 5:00 PM in Kimball Auditorium

Championship Round

Pitch It – Tuesday, November 18th @ 6:00 PM in Olin 130 Auditorium

To learn more visit:

For More information please contact:
Contact: Kimberly Rolfe, Director for Business Engagement, Whitman College