REDI pitch competition

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COLUMBIA - Fifteen entrepreneurs will compete for cash prizes by pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges at the REDI Ignition Pitch Competition on Friday starting at 8 a.m.

REDI, or Regional Economic Development Incorporated, chose 13 "at large" finalists and two high school finalists from a pool of 52 applicants. The competition strives to give aspiring business owners the chance to present their idea, business model, marketing strategy, competitive analysis and financial plan.

First place in the competition will receive $6,000, followed by $4,000 for second, and $2,000 for third. The two high school teams will receive either $500 or $250 respectively, the prize money is sponsored by Missouri CORE.

This is the fifth annual pitch competition hosted by REDI. Collin Bunch, one of the supervisors of the competition, said the judges have high expectations for all competitors.

"They want to see the passion of the entrepreneur and why they are trying to solve this problem, really explicitly understand what problem they are solving, and why it matters," Bunch said. 

The competition has a wide variety of competitors in the field, including four teams that are represented by University of Missouri students or faculty. Bunch mentioned the majority of the 13 "at large" finalists consist of two or more people.

The presenters will be graded by five judges. The judges will award points up to a score of 10 based on the finalists' performance in these areas:

1. The pitch is presented in a professionally clear, concise and logical order.

2. The idea/opportunity is creative, original and memorable.

3. The product/service clearly benefits customers.

4. Market opportunity and potential returns are clear and compelling.

5. The presenter was able to appropriately respond to questions.

6. The presenter displays passion for the venture.

Bunch mentioned that one of the more successful winners of the past couple years was TwoAlity, now a very popular destination for those searching for rain boots.

The event at Columbia College is open and free to the public.