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Students pitch business ideas in the elevator

Don’t be surprised if you meet a business investor in the elevator at Ingvar Kamprad design centre. You might just be walking in on some students from Innovation engineering practicing to communicate their business ideas by pitching them to the investor during a ride with the elevator. Testing ideas and practicing communication are important parts of the course for future entrepreneurs.

– Published 21 December 2021

Photo of people in an elevator.
Elevator pitch – A brief and to the point description which explains a concept so it can be easily understood in a very short time. Photo: Pernilla Daws

Communication – not just in theory

Having the ability to communicate your business idea can be just as important in achieving success as having the idea worked out. Lars Bengtsson, professor at the Department of Innovation Engineering at Design Sciences, LTH, has therefore invited the business investor Filip Larsson to ride in the elevator with groups of students who take the course "Entrepreneurship – how to build a scalable start-up". During the short ride in the elevator, the groups pitch their ideas and get feedback from the experienced investor.

A noticeably impressed student expressed after his elevator trip, that despite the short time it took to ride two floors up and down with the elevator, Filip Larsson managed to both listened to their idea and provide constructive feedback:

– He very quickly grasped our business concept! And he gave us a completely different angle on it, says one of the aspiring entrepreneurs.

The next step for the students is to convey their business ideas in a context where they have more time and can take help from different presentation materials, not unlike the TV program "Dragons’ den".

Failing – a way to achieve success

The course alternates theory with exercises and the groups of students work together to develop a business idea and a business plan. Lars Bengtsson explains that they use the "lean start-up" model, which involves testing of a business idea in different ways.

– It is about investigating in a fast and efficient way whether the idea works as intended or if any adjustments need to be made. Actually, it means you fail at the drawing board in order to succeed later, he says.

Lars Bengtsson clarifies the reasoning by describing an app idea that was intended to facilitate queuing at large festivals. A simple investigation showed that since the mobile network is often overloaded and crashes during that type of event, an app would not work either.

– An adjustment of the original idea can then be made at an early stage before too much work is put into an idea that sounds good in theory but would not work in practice, he says.


Elevator pitch

A short description of an idea, product or company which explains the concept in such a way that anyone can understand it in a very short time.


A useful formula for building a good elevator pitch:

  • Needs - describe an identified problem or deficiency
  • Approach - give your solution to the problem
  • Benefits - clarify what benefits your solution provides through, for example, quality or price
  • Competition - end by explaining how your solution is better than those that already exist

Curious about the course?

"Entrepreneurship – how to build a scalable start-up" (INNA01) can be selected by students in most of LTH civil engineering programs and by Erasmus students.

Information about the course on the Innovation engineering website