How to earn $1,000 in 60 seconds: Got a business plan?

April 15, 2011: 4:55 PM ET

All 42 teams at Rice  University's Business Plan Competition were given a minute to deliver the best business pitch they could muster to a panel of judges.

By Anne VanderMey, reporter

At least one team competing in Rice University's Business Plan Competition made $1,000 Thursday night -- in 60 seconds.

It was the competition's elevator pitch round at the world's largest student business plan contest. All 42 teams were given one minute to pitch their business plans to judges.

The stakes for these mini-presentations are high. The top prize is $1,000, the second and third place teams take home $750, and fourth and fifth place teams, $500. Though that's small change compared with the competition's nearly $500,000 grand prize.

The participants this year -- mostly a mix of MBAs and PhDs -- are pitching ideas that lean heavily toward the life sciences and green technology. One green team, cycleWood, gave a hat-tip to "The Graduate" in their pitch for biodegradable shopping bags: "Just one word. Plastics." Another said they could corner the market to both the do-it-yourself crowd and environmentalists with paint-on home insulation. And  three different teams pitched technology that could assist in the early detection of cancer.

There were a few outliers, though: a rep from San + CO, which plans to provide toilets to slums in India and use the result as fertilizer, opened their pitch with "I don't know about you, but I'm passionate about poop." The co-founder of Titin walked in wearing his company's weighted shirts for working out and did a few push ups. And Fiddler's Green promised investors a country club-esque "exclusive barbershop concept." Mens hair care, apparently, is a fast-growing industry.

The competition's real presentations begin Friday, and all prizes -- more than a million dollars worth -- will be awarded Saturday.

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