Pitch for Good: Pandemic Edition Spotlights 9 Tennessee Businesses Fighting COVID-19
May 12, 2020 / Share:
What happens when you get four celebrities, nine entrepreneurs, and hundreds of champions for Nashville business on a Zoom call together? A whole lot of good.
On May 12, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center hosted Pitch For Good: Pandemic edition, an elevator pitch competition for entrepreneurs who have pivoted their businesses to address COVID-19’s effect on individuals, communities, and economies.
“The reality is that we’re living in unprecedented times,” said Nashville Entrepreneur Center CEO Jane Allen. “A lot of things that none of us have ever really dealt with. But the entrepreneurial spirit — problem-solving, perseverance, looking for ways to do good — are all alive and well.”
The event, in partnership with Launch Tennessee, featured nine entrepreneurs across music, healthcare, food, and other industries, illustrating not only Nashville’s economic diversity but also the extent of the needs created by the ongoing pandemic. These entrepreneurs represented the best of the best from 100+ submissions.
“Small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs will be the ones who think of the great ideas and solve the problems that will be a kickstarter for our economy,” said Margaret Dolan, President and CEO of Launch Tennessee.
Each team was given 60 seconds to present to a panel of four celebrity judges, including Edward George Wealth Management Group founder and former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George; country music artist and owner of Arrington Vineyards Kix Brooks; Founder and CEO of Redline Steel Colin Wayne; and Tennessee Titans offensive lineman and Rodger Saffold, co-founder of Rise Nation esports team.
Divided into three categories based on business maturity — Idea Stage (for entrepreneurs with an idea still in early stages), Idea in Motion Stage (for businesses with less than $25K in revenue), and Up and Running Stage (for businesses with more than 25K in revenue) — the entrepreneurs presented pivots–from sustainable meal solutions that support the restaurant industry to new ways to track symptoms of illnesses like COVID-19 and keep them from spreading.
“Sometimes, when we get a big shift like right now, that’s when the energy of the entrepreneur has to rise to the top, because we have opportunities that we didn’t have even just months ago,” said Brooks.
Of the nine presentations, the judges voted on a winner for each stage, and the audience — a crowd of over 200 cheering on each entrepreneur from the virtual presentation’s chat box — selected an overall Audience Favorite.=
Among those winners were Stuart Bostock of SCI USA, Eric Mayer of EDP Biotech, and Harry Hoover of Filterjoy, who were each awarded a $2,000 grant. Sofia Tomov of Qardian Labs took home the Audience Favorite Award, and a free spot in the EC’s upcoming PreFlight program.
“I think when you can give from a place of integrity, it will come back times 10,” said Wayne.
Weren’t able to make the event? Experience it for yourself here.