Pictured above: The three 2013 Start Something pitch competition winners
The Jersey City-based entrepreneurship assistance program Rising Tide Capital will launch its third annual Start Something Challenge business pitch competition on June 16th, and will accept applications through July 3. The competition is free to enter.
Rising Tide will offer a total of $30,000 in funding for startup businesses. The two month competition, based here in New Jersey, also hopes to offer business owners networking opportunities and increased visibility for their ventures. In addition to the yearly competition, Rising Tide offers a 12-week business planning course, and one-on-one coaching to help entrepreneurs start their businesses.
Last year's competition saw applications from over 100 entrepreneurs throughout the state. Applying entails submitting a 30-second video pitch and brief business description. Last year's three winners, chosen out of 10 finalists who pitched their ventures live at St. Peter's University, were Coretta Owusu, Nicole Silva, and Elizabeth Migliore in first, second, and third place, respectively.
Owusu used her $10,000 in funding to continue building aSuiteStay, a corporate travel tool for booking African trips online. Silva, who owns organic skincare company DollyMoo, use the funds to redesign her packaging to meet FDA standards, enabling her to sell her products in large stores, starting with the Whole Foods in the Madison, NJ. And Migliore, who runs Jersey City Veggie Burgers, used her funds to rent more kitchen space and increase production.
After selecting an initial set of businesses for the competiton, Rising Tide offers entrants individualized coaching and mentorship at sessions throughout Essex and Hudson counties, and connects participants with local business resources. The non-profit whittles down its initial group of entrants to just three grant winners through three rounds of "challenges" that include driving traffic to their pitch videos, getting online votes, and the final live pitch, which is judged by a group of panelists. The three winners are then honored at a "Champions Gala".
Rising Tide accepts applications from New Jersey residents who are 18 years or older, and who are either microbusiness owners (defined as those earning revenues $250,000 per year or less), or have a strong and well-conceived business idea. Application instructions are available on Rising Tide's website.