Behind the Scenes of the Third Annual Pitch Competition


Behind the Scenes of the Third Annual Pitch Competition

December 6, 2021 | Education

Our Third Annual Pitch Competition is in the books! Held on November 9th, more than 200 people tuned in to watch six CPG women entrepreneurs pitch their business to four industry experts.

Watch the entire Competition here.

It was quite a journey to get to those six finalists. After reviewing many applications, we are pulling back the curtain, sharing some of the statistics and secrets behind this year’s Competition, and providing tips for succeeding in future events.

1. Women Entrepreneurs Nationwide – In 2021, 86 women-owned businesses applied to pitch at the Competition from 23 states, including the District of Columbia – the most in history. As a result, six companies were named as finalists.

2. How We Define CPG – We consider CPG to encompass food, beverages, and other consumer package goods for our pitch competition. Unsure if your business is considered CPG? A helpful question to ask – what would I send a judge or investor as a sample? If there’s nothing tangible or no physical packaging, the business most likely does not fit in the CPG category.

3. Sell Your Products – We received applications for various products including: snack bars, sauces, coffees, and plant-based milks. The items that stood out had evident differentiation qualities (an ingredient, particular type of packaging, allergen-free). Ask yourself – why a consumer should buy your product over another.

4. Carrying on the Tradition – Many of the applications we received were rooted in traditions of the past. From a grandmother’s secret plant-based milk recipe to a modern take on an existing product, we noticed a trend of entrepreneurs celebrating legacies from the past. When there’s a legacy associated with a product, make sure to share who has ownership and your connection with the original creator.

5. National Product with Local Presence – Some of this year’s applicants had a presence in their local community (as a restaurant, bakery, pop-up shop, etc.) and sold products across the country. For a national pitch competition, focus on the tangible product available to most people.

6. All it Takes is an E-mail – Apply for a competition or program, and the next day there’s a big update you want to include? If it’s before the deadline, reach out to the organizer and see if the application can be updated.

7. Give Your Application a Voice – Video pitch decks are increasing in popularity. It was optional to include one for our Competition. However, it does add a dimension to the overall application, especially for businesses with different elements.

8. How Much? – One piece of information commonly omitted from applications is the price of their product. Make sure to include this. What are the product skews, and how much does it cost the consumer to purchase?

9. Tell a Story – Frequently, the most robust storyteller wins pitch competition. Why did you start your business, and what problem are you trying to solve? Research the market, know your competitions strengths and weaknesses, and understand and show how you’ve prepared for the financial and logistical requirements to both bring your product to market and to scale as it grows. Finally, prepare to answer any questions from the judges – it’s essential to be able to confidently answer any question. It is scary to be vulnerable and put yourself out there, but it will be worth it.

10. Embrace Your Uniqueness – A noticeable trend of this year’s applicants was businesses that celebrated the entrepreneur’s heritage. For example, infusing traditional drinks with ingredients popular in East Asia or creating a market in the United States for a popular Georgian snack. When products have an emotional connection to the entrepreneur, it helps tell the brand story.

Bottom Line: Approximately 20% of the applications had entered last year’s Competition, with one company being named Runner Up and Audience Choice. Even if you’ve been rejected from a program, competition, grant, etc., keep applying. Find out how to improve your overall application and make the necessary adjustments. We are here to help your entrepreneurial dreams come true.


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