ATLANTA/MACON – Mercer University’s Stetson-Hatcher School of Business awarded a total of $1,000 in prize money for two unique business ideas presented during Mercer Innovation Center’s Elevator Pitch Competition held April 1 via Zoom.

Elevator pitches are typically around two minutes long. The term “elevator pitch” captures the ability of an entrepreneur to have a business conceptualized so concisely and effectively that he or she could walk into a hypothetical elevator, meet a potential investor and convey the essence of his or her business by the time the elevator reaches the 20th floor, so that the investor would be interested enough to schedule another meeting to learn more. The competition allows students to think through an idea and decide if it is something they would want to pursue.

Mercer Innovation Center’s goal is to support student entrepreneurs through mentorship and funding. The competition accomplishes both goals by providing students feedback on their ideas and some startup money to help get those ideas off the ground. 

The competition, open to all students on all Mercer campuses, included 19 individuals or teams who submitted video pitches. Those semifinalists were narrowed to eight finalists, who each presented virtually to a panel of judges, including School of Business Dean Dr. Julie Petherbridge, Associate Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship Dr. Marko Horn and Mercer Innovation Center Director Stephanie Howard.

Stephanie Troemel
Stephanie Troemel

One winner was selected among for-profit business pitches, and one among nonprofit business pitches.

Stephanie Troemel, MBA student on the Atlanta campus with a concentration in entrepreneurship and innovation, won in the for-profit category for MakeNow, an app that takes craft pattern PDFs and makes them mobile friendly and easy to use, saving time, paper and frustration for a fun, successful making experience.

Holly Burke
Holly Burke

Holly Burke, online MBA student, won in the nonprofit category for Intentional Freedom, a program intended to educate prior offenders on proper money management, saving habits, budgeting habits and investing to give them the ability and opportunity to take control of their finances and futures and allow them to make changes towards a pro-social lifestyle.

“I love seeing our student entrepreneurs present their ideas,” said Dr. Briana Stenard, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship, who served as faculty adviser for the competition. “I know it takes a lot of courage to present your ideas to a panel of judges, so I am very proud of our students. I am always impressed by the high quality of their presentations, and I enjoy seeing them share their passions and try to solve important problems through creative solutions.”

About the School of Business

Established in 1984, Mercer’s School of Business is named for Eugene W. Stetson, a 1901 Mercer graduate and business pioneer who leveraged the first major buyout in corporate history, and his grandson Robert F. (Bob) Hatcher, a Macon businessman, longtime supporter, trustee and former board chair for the University. Over the past 80 years, Mercer has granted over 12,000 business degrees, and many of its graduates hold senior leadership positions in companies around the world. Mercer’s business school delivers career-focused business education in order to develop innovative leaders who are responsible global citizens. It holds accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which places it among the top five percent of all top business schools worldwide. Mercer’s business school has been recognized by The Princeton Review for “Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students” and “Greatest Opportunity for Women” as well as being one of its “Best Business Schools.” In addition, it has been recognized among the “Top 15 Schools in the Nation for Marketing and Accounting.” The School offers the following programs: Atlanta (Evening and Online BBA, Full-Time (Day) MBA, Evening MBA, Online MBA, Master of Accountancy, M.S. in Business Analytics), Macon (Traditional BBA, Evening MBA, Health Care MBA, and Innovation MBA), Henry County (Evening BBA). For more information, visit