Celebrating Black Founders Across Tennessee at Pitch for Good: Black Founders Edition
July 24, 2020 / Share:
Six Black entrepreneurs across the state of Tennessee took the virtual stage today for Pitch For Good: Black Founders Edition, pitching their businesses in front of a professional panel that included Grammy award-winning gospel artist CeCe Winans.
“I get excited about entrepreneurs, about young people taking risks. It takes a lot of courage, and I applaud them and am honored to be here,” said Winans, during the virtual event.
Winans was joined by four other professional judges, including retired NFL player and life coach Bret Lockett, Head of Google for Startups North America Jewel Burks Solomon, EO Nashville board member and MiTech Partners founder Bill McCleskey, and Dell for Entrepreneurs US Strategic Partnerships Account Manager Marcus DeVane.
“During quarantine, we as the EC team had the privilege of continuing work with entrepreneurs through every phase of the life cycle. We were seeing the innovative, fun, and desperately needed work they were doing, and decided we needed to shine a light on the good happening in our community,” said Nashville Entrepreneur Center CEO Jane Allen, who traced the history of the Pitch for Good series in the event’s opening.
More than 50 entrepreneurs submitted applications earlier in July to present at this month’s Pitch for Good event, with 6 being selected as the best of the best in two categories: the “Launch Stage”, which includes businesses that are just getting off the ground with little to no revenue, and the “Up and Running Stage” for businesses making over $25K per year.
Over the course of an hour, the judges learned more about each of these businesses through their 1-minute elevator pitches followed by time for Q&A.
“I think the best way to predict your future is to create it, and we do that in the entrepreneurial realm,” said McCleskey, as encouragement ahead of the teams’ pitches.
Teams were ranked by the panel of judges, with the winner of each category receiving $2,000 financial grants to support their businesses, and one team was chosen to receive the “Crowd Favorite” award of an EC scholarship to the program of their choice.
Launch Stage Winner
Teresa Vasquez – Autism Possible
Up and Running Stage Winner
Felicia Jackson – CPR Wrap
Crowd Favorite Winner
Joshua Mundy – Pivot Technology School
But the winning didn’t stop there — once the pitch-dust had settled, MC Brynn Plummer made a late-breaking announcement that each finalist would also receive a scholarship to the EC, thanks to the generosity of a special supporter.
“Everyone that made it to this stage is a winner. Our board chair, Beth Chase, was so moved by these six submissions that she is providing scholarships to the EC for each of these entrepreneurs,” Allen said. “We recognize that now more than ever, it’s crucial that we provide access to resources that help level the playing field for entrepreneurship and increase the probability of success and economic prosperity.”
Thanks to our panel of judges and pitching entrepreneurs, as well as sponsors Dell Technologies and EO Nashville for making this event possible! Weren’t able to make it? Check out the video recap here!