Imagine if there was a business out there that could ease the process of signing your young child up for daycare. Or one that crowd-sourced grocery delivery to senior citizens. Or an online marketplace exclusively for students. These and seven other fascinating business ideas grabbed the attention of over 60 people at our Pitch & Pick event on November 20th at Memorial University's Engineering Building.
Pitch & Pick is the culmination of the Genesis Centre’s EVOLUTION program. After eight intensive weeks of workshops, mentoring, and customer interviews, ten entrepreneurs were given three minutes to pitch their idea to an audience. The audience in turn had the opportunity to vote for the top three ideas of the day. With ten three-minute pitches presented and over 60 people in attendance, this Pitch & Pick event was the largest the Genesis Centre has hosted so far in five total EVOLUTION cohorts.
Also in attendance was a world-class panel, which provided each EVOLUTION participant a short critique of their business model and pitch presentation. This phenomenal panel included representation from each of the three major funding agencies active in Newfoundland and Labrador, and consisted of Tony Roche of ACOA, Mark Ploughman of the Provincial Department of BTCRD, and Doug Trask of RDC. Their advice and insights were beneficial to and appreciated by the pitchers as well as the audience.
Over the course of the event, entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to showcase their early-stage start-ups to an audience of engaged individuals from all corners of the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Newfoundland. And despite some necessary nervousness, the pitchers and audience both had a wonderful time, and local innovation was at the forefront.
After all ten pitches and the votes had been tallied, an incredibly tight race revealed which entrepreneurs had won the most fan hearts. Third place in the fan vote was taken by Susan Day and her corporate yoga company, The Office Yogi, while second place went to Tom Williamson and his construction management application CMi. In a surprising twist of events, there was a tie for first place, with Armin Strobel’s drone AS Works and Niki Pryor’s online children’s clothing MiniChic splitting the top spot. Congratulations to all who presented!
This Pitch & Pick event is the fourth of its kind since the EVOLUTION program began in the spring of last year. It surely won't be the last, as innovation never ends in St. John's. Look for the next Pitch & Pick event coming early 2016.