Junior marketing major, Kyle Frank, took home a $1,000 cash prize Friday, April 6 as the winner of the “Rock the Boat” Business Pitch Competition held at the University Club in North Hall.
Frank, a 21 year old from Severna Park, Maryland, won first place out of five finalists Friday, where he pitched his idea “Keepin’ Cold” to a panel of three judges. His business pitch was to invent an attachment for coolers that will hold dry ice, so that ice would no longer melt after an extended amount of time.
The idea came about after long drives from Maryland to Slippery Rock, when Frank realized that the bags of ice in his cooler would always melt during the trip.
“I thought it would be a good idea to have dry ice in a cooler, so that it wouldn’t be necessary to keep adding bags of ice to keep your drinks cold,” Frank said. “I had to determine what the issues were concerning the pitch and what had already been done with it, and I moved forward with the project.”
With advice from Dr. John Golden, Frank’s idea was ready for judging and he was determined to win.
“I figured since Dr. Golden was a lawyer, he would know how to go about this sort of process,” Frank said. “I hate losing and I knew I had to win this competition.”
The winner of the “Rock the Boat” competition was awarded $1,000, which was something that also encouraged Frank to take home first place.
“The idea of being handed money was definitely one of the perks of winning,” Frank said. “I put aside $500 for when I start working on a patent for ‘Keepin’ Cold.’”
Dr. Golden believed that Frank had an advantage over the other four finalists because he used a display during the two-minute pitch to the panel of judges.
“I definitely believe that Kyle’s poster helped him in the competition,” Golden said. “He also was very confident throughout his pitch, which may have given him an edge over the other contestants.”
Frank learned that 60 percent of college students own their own coolers, and 90 percent of non-college students own one as well.
“I texted over 1,000 people probably, asking if they owned a cooler or not, and I found that most people did,” Frank said.
Frank is working on patenting his invention as he moves forward with the business pitch. Penguin Ice is one of the only dry ice distributors in the United States, and he plans to come in contact with the company.
“Hopefully I can patent ‘Keepin’ Cold’ so that people don’t have to worry about this problem anymore,” Frank said. “I told everyone that if I won this competition, I would get it patented. That’s what I’m trying to do now.”
Dr. Golden encourages students to get involved with the Business Pitch Competition held during Business Week, because it gives students a sense of what they would encounter after graduation.
“We call it the elevator pitch, which means that if you had two minutes while going up an elevator to convince the CEO of a major company to buy your product, what would you say to him or her?” Golden said. “The prize of $1,000 also seems to grab students’ attention.”