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Toilet Paper Entrepreneur Author to Speak at Elevator Pitch Competition at Clarkson University Saturday

[A photograph for media use is available at]

Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and CEO of Obsidian Launch, will deliver a keynote address and serve as a judge at Clarkson University’s first-ever Elevator Pitch Competition this Saturday, April 11.

The event, sponsored by Clarkson’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), takes place in the Bertrand H. Snell Hall Atrium beginning at 10:30 a.m. with the final pitches slated for 2 p.m.michalowicz

An "elevator pitch" is a short overview of a business or product that can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride. In the case of this competition, Clarkson students will be pitching business ideas in no more than 60 seconds.

Michalowicz describes himself as a toilet paper entrepreneur (TPE), a new breed of entrepreneur that "gets it done using more ingenuity than money, more passion than experience, and more hard work than education."

"A tough economy is a blessing for entrepreneurs," says Michalowicz. "Having limited resources forces you to innovate, to be creative. That’s where all the best ideas come from, the ideas that could lead to astounding success."

Michalowicz adds that in an uncertain economy, bloated businesses fall by the wayside, reducing competition for start-ups and small businesses who are "TPing it." And when the economy turns around again, it is the TPE businesses that continue to rise by maintaining TPE principals even in times of plenty.

Michalowicz launched two multi-million dollar companies before the age of 30 and now fosters start-up businesses with young entrepreneurs with his newest multi-million dollar venture, Obsidian Launch. A graduate of MIT’s "Birthing of Giants" Entrepreneurial Program, Michalowicz is a recurring guest on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, and has been featured on National Public Radio, and in the New York Times, and Smart CEO Magazine.

Two other young entrepreneurs will also play a role in the event.

Matt Wilson, co-founder of Factor 77 and former president of Bryant University’s CEO chapter that has won Best Chapter in the nation back-to-back years, will speak on the history of and concept behind elevator pitches.

Matt Ackerson, founder and CEO of Scrimple Inc. and a senior at Cornell University, will be a judge.

All Clarkson University the students are welcome to compete for the top prize of $200, as well as second and third prizes.

CEO is presenting The Elevator Pitch Competition with funding from the Clarkson Union Board and the Clarkson University Student Association.

Local businesses, entrepreneurs and the general public are welcome to attend and watch the event.

Find out more about Michalowicz and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur at

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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