The Venture Center held its 2021 ‘Pitch N Pint’ event this week at Brewski’s Pub & Grub in Little Rock. Elite Recruiting’s Kissa Kimble won top prize in the contest.
The Venture Center is an Arkansas-based Entrepreneurial Support Organization (ESO) that helps entrepreneurs turn their start-ups into viable, high-growth businesses by leveraging the expertise of a team of mentors, intensive programming, and introductions to the investor community.
Pitch N Pint is held in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week, and pits entrepreneurs in a “Shark Tank-style” pitch competition where winners leave with cash and connections. Wednesday night’s competition was held in conjunction with the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week, and featured members of the 2021 Spark! Cohort, each giving a two minute pitch to “sell” their business to the panel of local judges. Spark! is The Venture Center’s local small business pre-accelerator program lasting 10-weeks and providing a sales and marketing bootcamp for selected businesses.
After several virtual pitch competitions geared towards helping businesses hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, the in-person event at Brewski’s Pub & Grub was a welcome change of scenery. Local judges Hilary Trudell, The Yarn; Keneasha Scott, K Scott Consults, LLC; and David Michael, Arvest Bank heard the pitches, asked questions of the contestants, and provided valuable feedback.
The 2021 Pitch N Pint winners pool included:
- Kissa Kimble, Elite Recruiting – First Place and $5,000
- Miya Blackmon, Little Rock Lightning – Second Place and $3,000
- Whitney Gray, Whit’s End – Third Place and $2,000
- Ayana Baraka, Edamame Films – $1,000
- Benjamin Harrison, FareMarket – $1,000
- Meosha Howard, Infidimensional Skin – $1,000
- Tammy Iosbaker, The Frame Maker – $1,000
- Soroya Tucker, VLS Waste Solutions – $1,000
“The brave entrepreneurs who participated in the 2021 Pitch N Pint competition showed the community what hard work and grit looks like,” said Ashley Jones, managing director of community programs for The Venture Center. “Throughout the course of the 10-week program, this cohort has improved their sales and marketing strategies, as well as their pitching skills, which was evident to all in attendance. Congratulations to this inspirational group of entrepreneurs.”
The event was produced by The Venture Center and its partners from Little Rock Regional Chamber, Arvest, Arkansas Small Business Technology Development Center, and Arkansas Money & Politics.