In a small, local church auditorium in the heart of downtown Pikeville, several presenters held their breath as winning announcements were being made on whose “pitch” impressed the judges the most.
It was the first-ever Speed Pitch Competition that SOAR was hosting during its 2022 “Into the Future” Summit, and all were hoping to win a prize, of either $100, $250, or $500.
The competition was powered by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center.
SOAR is excited to allow people, no matter their age, to take their ideas and share them with others for a chance to win money.
By allowing folks an opportunity to take the stage and pitch their ideas, SOAR’s hope is that they will be inspired and encouraged to take the next steps to turn that idea into reality.
The Speed Pitch Competition is a way to attract a new segment of potential startups. Traditional pitch competitions are vigorous. Because of that, those with ideas in a very early stage often do not participate.
Additionally, SOAR’s partnership with Toyota Tsusho provided student scholarships and transportation stipends which brought more than 400 students to the 2022 SOAR Summit.
Just prior to the competition, Kelby Price, of Keyhorse Capital, joined Kentucky Small Business Development Center coaches Michelle Spriggs, Rodney Kuhl, Rachel Bowling, and Vallorie Henderson for a presentation on How to Craft a Winning Pitch.
The session touched on topics such as how to craft pitch decks, make impressive elevator pitches, and cautioned about certain obstacles one might run into while running their business.
But the greatest lesson was yet to be taught: Who was willing to step up and give their business “pitch” to a room full of strangers? Oh, and in two minutes or less.
The smell of fresh coffee lingered in the air as inspiration encouraged seven individuals to compete for one of the three big checks sitting on the auditorium’s stage floor.
Those competing ranged from an Eastern Kentucky radio station providing a vast array of music choices for those living in the mountains, to an Eastern Kentucky non-profit seeking to help individuals with their behavioral health and substance abuse issues to lead better lives.
The top three
Johnson County native, Mikey Jarrell, owner and creator of Kiddie Guards, took home the top prize of $500. Mikey, a local barber, shared about his incidental monster truck-shaped trimmer guard creation that was inspired during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The creation was a mixture of fun and safety. His idea came to fruition when students from Johnson County High School created a mock-up design. The students also helped him with his first commercial.
Mikey was shocked to even participate. Actually, he didn’t know until he was called on stage. Who signed him up? A group of his friends who believed in him and in his creation. Sometimes, it takes a small nudge from those who believe in you to make big dreams a reality.
Speaking of having a big dream, six Johnson Central High School students from the school’s engineering program made their pitch about a solar-powered vehicle currently under construction. Aman Patel and his engineering classmates shared how an investment in their project would not only help them upgrade their solar but provide free advertisement for an investor as they participate in a race at the Texas Speedway next year. The students inspirationally discussed the importance of investing in younger generations in order for them to be able to compete with others nationally.
The team took home $250 and finished second.
Clay County native and student at Red Bird Mission Christian School, Lauren Pugh, finished third and received $100. Lauren took a “whisk” by starting her baking company, Lauren’s Tasty Sweets and Treats. Lauren’s Sweet Treats Throughout the year, Lauren has successfully provided homemade treats for her growing list of clients.
Lauren’s passionate speech of wanting to bring a smile to a client’s face is all it took for her to swoon over the judges. She said that if she were to win the competition, she would finally be able to buy a cookie projector and an edible image printer.
It takes a certain inventor to take their idea and run with it as best as they can. But, at events like the SOAR Summit, these inventors, creators, artists, scientists, and at heart, Eastern Kentuckians can receive the financial support to take their idea and be one step closer to making their business goals happen.
See a recap of our winners here.
Ready to take your idea to the next level?
SOAR Innovation, powered by KY Innovation, is ready to help. What’s your first step?
Download our Complete Guide to Entrepreneurship and a member of our team will reach out to schedule a free consultation.
Our Innovation Team provides a variety of free services such as
- Business Planning
- Basic website services
- E-Commerce implementation
- Google services
- Digital media services
- Systems for Success
Got questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.