We had an incredible time at Purdue University Calumet’s The Big Sell competition yesterday. It was an honor to be a part of this event and to compete against like-minded entrepreneurs. There were some brilliant people with some fantastic ideas in that room – and we are thrilled to have won the 1st place price in the Open Category in spite of such worthy competitors!!!
About the Event
This was a great event that included audience voting and a panel of expert judges. There were 3 categories: Open/General, Social and Technology. We were in the Open/General category.
Judges and Speakers
It was truly an honor to be a part of this event and have our business judged by such an amazing panel:
- Adriana Llames Kogelis – V.P. of Social and Digital Marketing at Sears Holdings
- Diane Feldman of NIPSCO
- Speros Batistatos – President/CEO of the South Shore Convention & Visitor Authority
- Chareice White – President of ECIER Foundation
We also enjoyed some presentations from speakers such as Thomas Keon, the Chancellor at Purdue University Calumet. The lunchtime keynote address from Adrianna was an amazing in-depth look at entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. And, of course, it was fun watching and learning from the gentleman pulling this whole event together: Dushan Nikolovski, the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship Success. We learned a lot at this event!
There were 50 contestants. In the preliminary round, each contestant had 2 minutes to pitch their business. During our pitch, Ed illustrated the features/benefits of the Centipede Sawhorse while I demonstrated the set up and components on stage. We did really well and are really starting to come into our own on how to present this product to a group of people.
The audience was given 30 seconds after each contestant to electronically vote for whether or not the contestant should move into the final round. The panel of judges, along with the rest of the audience only had one vote per presentation.
The top 5 vote getters in each category were given the opportunity for a second 2 minute pitch. Having already shown the Centipede Sawhorse in all its glory, this time I spoke and focused on our business. I talked about how much trust and experience Ed and I have working together, talked about our on-going crowdlaunch, and about the connections we’ve made since we started.
This was followed by 2 – 3 minutes of questions from the judges. In this round, the 4 judges picked their winners, with the audience voting to act together as the “5th” judge.
I had a solid feeling we’d be getting the call and I wanted to immortalize it with some shaky and blurry cell phone footage. Pardon the bumpy hand off to our new friend who got the shot for us:
Links for More Information
- The Big Sell – Entrepreneurs In Action
- Center for Entrepreneurship Success
- Coverage by Chicago Sun Times Post-Tribune
- Coverage by The Times of Northwest Indiana
What we Won
What an amazing prize package. It is PERFECT for us at this point in our launch!
- $3,000 in cash
- $3,000 in volunteered legal services
- We can get guidance on the appropriate warning labels
- $3,000 in volunteered accounting services
- We can get our books set up the right way for us
- $3,000 in volunteered marketing services from The Idea Factory
- Help with packaging and merchandising
- $3,000 in volunteered advisory services
- Answers to questions!!
- $3,000 in volunteered IT consulting
- This web site isn’t terrible, but it could be better!
- Dushan’s students will write a business plan for us in the fall