Bringing Up Business hosts pitch competition for young entrepreneurs

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COLUMBIA - As a part of the first-ever Mid Missouri Innovation Week, Bringing up Business hosted a pitch competition at Columbia College.

A dozen applicants were chosen to pitch their businesses or inventions in front of a group of judges. The event was also open to the public for anyone to come watch. 

Missouri Innovation Center President and CEO Bill Turpin was part of the team to review the applicants and choose the finalists. He was one of the audience members during the pitches.

"It's great opportunity for people in the community to come see and maybe find something they want to get involved with," Turpin said. "I'm here to see what kind of start ups are here that could potentially be clients of the Missouri Innovation Center or that we could refer to other parts of the ecosystem here in town."

The pitch competition was sponsored by RMI, a resource and financial partner for small businesses. It awarded $10,000 in prizes to the winners of the competition.

One of the entrepreneurs presenting, Bea Doheny, is a junior at MU. She pitched her business, Astronobeads.

"My pitch today was explaining my jewelry line, it's a jewelry line that combines science and art and I have a total of six products. It was really fun," Doheny said. "I explained my business model and areas that I'm looking forward to expanding to and it was really cool hearing the perspective of the crowd and judges."

The first prize is $5,000. Doheny said if she won, she would use it to expand her business to a sheltered workshop in Columbia. 

"The Columbia sheltered workshop is a great area for people with disabilities to be able to contribute to a job. It would be a great plus for me to help me scale up production while also giving back to the community," Doheny said.

Doheny said even if she doesn't win, she's glad she was able to take part.

"This is my first time I'm ever doing this, so weather I win or don't win, honestly, I'm all about the experience and just getting to practicing my pitch over and over." 

There will be more activities throughout the week. The full schedule can be found here.