Pitch it and win it

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JEFFERSON CITY- Local entrepreneurs walked away with some cash Saturday after an annual pitch off competition.

The sixth annual “Pitch It & Win It” competition puts competitors up against each to pitch best new idea for a business. The eleven entrepreneurs had ten minutes to pitch their idea and ten minutes to answer questions from the panel of judges.

The event was first started after a group of small-business owners wanted a way to help entrepreneurs getting started in Jefferson City. Members of the committee call the contest a mini ‘Shark Tank’ and hope they can provide an opportunity that will help the competitors beyond just the contest’s awards.

“It is much more pass the cash, or the awards that are going to be presented today," Existing Business Manger for Jefferson City Chamber Commerce Shaun Sappenfield said. "Again, it goes back to identifying who these people are and providing them the professional resources they need, the business counseling, to get their business off the ground, or to tweak their business to make it work.” 

This year the first place winner won $2500, second place $1500 and third place was a tie. The contestants each received $500.

“When you are able to come and see other people and what they are creating and doing, and then to know on the flip-side of it there is money out there for small business, to get started and reinvest back into the company: I think that’s awesome,” first time competitor Angela Whitman said.

Another competitor, Tamisha Eldrigde, said it is a great opportunity to network and meet other business owenrs.

“I think the best thing I will take from here today is being able to identify an event such as this, go out there, meet people, and learn from them, and being part of the community that you actually live in.

Small Business Committee member Donna Deetz said that any amount of the cash prizes can definitely help.

“The amounts aren’t that large, but that $1000 can make a difference if I go and buy my business cards, or I want to start a brochure, or I just want to pay my next fee to get into the next business booth,” Deetz said. “Just enough to get their feet wet, or to get them over one those humps they need to get pasted.”

Sappenfield said around 80 percent of companies in the chamber of commerce are small businesses and this is one way the chamber of commerce is trying to grow smaller business in and around Jefferson City.