Student on winning team at Entrepreneurship Challenge

October 29 2007

An Indiana State University student who already operates his own business was part of a winning team in the Indiana Venture Center’s recent Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Drew Loftus, a senior communication major from Carmel, was part of a five-member team of students from universities around the state that tied for first place in the competition.

Students were assigned to teams two weeks in advance of the event at the Edward Lowe Foundation in Cassopolis, Mich. Team members worked together to develop a “perfect pitch” for an actual start-up company seeking investment dollars. Teams had 15 minutes at the conclusion of the Oct. 11-13 challenge to deliver their pitches to participating companies and a panel of judges.

“It was a real challenge creating a pitch for a business we had just been introduced to but we learned a lot and had a blast throughout the experience,” Loftus said. “My favorite part of the weekend was getting to know entrepreneurial students from all over the state. When we weren’t working on our team’s pitch we were talking about each others ideas and plans for the future, which was great.”

Joining Loftus on the team were Casey Bridgett of Butler University, Benjamin Schieken of Indiana University, Ben McElwee of the University of Evansville and Joel Luebcke of Ball State. This year’s challenge attracted 27 students from eight colleges and universities.

“This competition provided great benefits for all parties involved - students, faculty and companies,” said James R. Eifert, president of Indiana Venture Center Inc. “The students brought a fresh perspective; faculty members provided professional support to the student teams; and the companies gained tangible feedback that they can use immediately.”

Loftus’ business is Handshake LLC, which he co-founded with Cole Dudley, a graduate of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Handshake is a Web site and social utility that allows internet users to provide and search for services. The project is currently under development at both Indiana State and Rose-Hulman Ventures. It is a partner company with the Terre Haute Innovation Alliance, a partnership involving ISU, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the city of Terre Haute and , then add Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Drew Loftus

Contact: Chris Pfaff, director, , Center for Business Support and Economic Innovation, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2350 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or

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Drew Loftus, a senior communication major from Carmel, was part of a five-member team of students

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