Business major wins UNI Elevator Pitch Competition, heads to national competition

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – University of Northern Iowa senior marketing and management double major, Gabe Groothuis of Marion, won the UNI Elevator Pitch Competition that was held on campus Tuesday, Oct 9. He will get to test his pitch against college students from around the nation at the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Conference Elevator Pitch Competition, which will be held in Kansas City, Missouri, Nov. 1-3.

Gabe Groothuis
Gabe Groothuis

Groothuis shared, “I am very blessed to be the winner of this year’s pitch competition. I have been working on scaling and growing my business this year and am excited to work with the JPEC to take my ideas to the next level. I am looking forward to representing UNI next month in Kansas City.”

Groothuis, owner and founder of Groothuis Solutions, pitched his service of providing consulting to high school students involved in Mock Trial. With over four years of experience with mock trial and a National Mock Trial 1st place win under his belt, Groothuis is able to provide expertise through workshops and online consulting. His award-winning pitch earned him $500 in addition to an all-expense paid trip to the National CEO conference.

Second place winners for the UNI competition were Corey Behrens and Jack WorthingtonBehrens, a junior communications and digital media productions major, won $250 for his business Simplistic Views, a wedding videography service. Worthington, on military leave from West Point, also won $250 and is taking advantage of his time off to develop his business, LED Save, in the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator. LED Save is a company designed to assist home owners with switching their bulbs from regular to LED in a simple and cost efficient way.

Taking home third place with $100 was oldpeoplebrand, a Streetware clothing company that designs, produces and launches exclusive lines through their e-commerce site. Hollis Wilson, Joey Dunning, Camden Dusenbery and Mack Eastmas, all Cedar Falls High School students, have their business located in the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator and are also associates in the Cedar Falls CAPS Business, Communication & Design strand.

The UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, a division of UNI’s Business and Community Services, can be reached at, 319-273-JPEC (5732) or by email


Laurie Watje, associate director, UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, 319-273-5732,