A Streetcar Named Inspire: History meets innovation at CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge Collegiate Trolley Pitch Competition

Note to Reporters: A photo of the historic Fort Collins Municipal Railway trolley car is available with this release at news.colostate.edu

 FORT COLLINS — The CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge weekend starts on May 23 with the Collegiate Trolley Pitch competition, presented by OtterBox, with cash prizes of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 being awarded to the top three teams of collegiate entrepreneurs.

The Trolley Pitches start at the Blue Ocean Enterprises corporate offices at 401 W. Mountain Ave., Fort Collins, at 1 p.m. on Friday, and conclude at 3 p.m. During the competition, 10 teams from Colorado State University and other colleges in Colorado will board the Fort Collins Municipal Railway’s historic trolley to pitch their ventures like never before.

Putting an authentic Fort Collins twist on the traditional “elevator pitch,” competitors will wait at various trolley stops along Mountain Avenue, then jump on the Streetcar Named Inspire to offer their best two-minute business pitch – the time it takes to ride to the next stop – to impress a four-judge panel of experts riding the trolley. Every time the car stops, competitors disembark and the next team of trolley-pitchers hops on to make its most persuasive pitch.

All 10 teams also competed on the Collegiate Track of the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge on May 2.

Esteemed judges for the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge Trolley Pitches are Nicole Glaros, Managing Director, Techstars; Josh Birks, Economic Development Director, City of Fort Collins; Paul Hudnut, Senior Advisor – Global Programs, Bohemian Impact Investments, LLC; and Christine Hudson, Founder, Fort Collins New Tech.

“OtterBox was founded on the entrepreneurial spirit and forged in innovation,” said OtterBox CEO Brian Thomas. “We’re dedicated to fostering the same for our community by supporting the Collegiate Trolley Pitch competition. These contenders are tomorrow’s business leaders, and we’re excited to be a part of their journey.”

Public invited to play

The public is invited to watch and cheer for trolley competitors along the Mountain Avenue route. Green Ride will provide free shuttles to various trolley stops. Onlookers are encouraged to cheer and distract the competitors from along the route, creating a lively and energizing atmosphere. The community is also invited to play in the “Invest-In-Me Game” during the Trolley Pitches, and become venture capitalists for the day. Players can register anytime between noon on Friday, May 23, and noon on Saturday, May 24, to play Invest-In-Me.

Players receive a bundle of ten $100 Blue Bucks to be “invested” in the collegiate entrepreneur teams that do the best job pitching their businesses. One Invest-In-Me player will be chosen from a drawing to receive $2,500 worth of computer hardware provided by HP. Additionally, the collegiate team that attracts the most Blue Bucks will receive a $3,000 cash prize plus $2,500 in computer equipment from HP.

“The entrepreneurial spirit of innovation rings true for us at HP, and we’re excited to be involved as a sponsor for this event,” said Jeff Wood, vice president, Worldwide Product Management, Commercial Solutions Business Unit, HP. “We are confident that the HP products will serve as a valuable asset to the winning team, as well as a fun incentive for Invest-In-Me players.”

More information about the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge Trolley Pitch Competition presented by OtterBox and the Invest-In-Me Game can be found on the website: http://blueoceanchallenge.com/competitions/trolley-pitch/. Registration is required for all Blue Ocean Challenge events, also available on the website.

About The CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge

 The Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge is the richest annual business pitch competition in Colorado, as measured by its grand prize of $250,000. Presented by the Colorado State University College of Business and Blue Ocean Enterprises, the competition is a celebration of innovation, leadership development, and job creation. The Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge is open to collegiate entrepreneurs throughout Colorado, startups, and existing companies seeking funding and business mentoring. More information is available at www.blueoceanchallenge.com