By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
In many respects, it’s hard to believe that 50 weeks have passed since the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) launched its virtual “Pitch for Good Series” with the first edition on May 12. On the other hand, however, we have been dealing for more than a year with the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, the EC started the second edition of its series that spotlighted entrepreneurs from Nashville as well as from across the state, and it picked-up with the focus of its second “Pitch for Good” in 2020 that featured Black founders.
Is there still a thirst for the “Pitch for Good” series? One would have to say a resounding YES after more than 450 people pre-registered, according to EC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jane Allen, and more than 300 were in virtual attendance, according to Brynn Plummer, the EC’s moderator for the one-hour competition. Pictured here are the judges and those who pitched.
Felicia Jackson of CPRWrap, a Chattanooga-based company, won the “Up and Running” category in the 2020 competition among Black founders and served as one of the judges for yesterday’s competition. Other judges were: (1) Sheleah Harris, Manager of State and Local Government Affairs for Verizon; (2) Toni Hickey, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel and Deputy General Counsel for Cummins; and (3) Mobolaji Sokumbi, Head of Small Business Strategic Partnerships for Dell Technologies.
As has been the case with the previous “Pitch for Good” events, six companies – three from each of two categories – vie for a prize package that was provided yesterday by Cummins. The two categories are “Launch,” defined as start-ups with revenues from $0 to $25,000, and “Up and Running,” composed of companies that have realized revenues above $25,000.
- Erika Dillard, Founder and CEO of PopCheck Technologies Inc., captured first place and $10,000 in the first category for her artificial intelligence-based, remote monitoring technology to detect the difference between leg cramps and venous blood clots in post-operative patients. “I want to help people recover from surgery stress free,” said Dillard, a graduate of the University of Tennessee’s College of Medicine. She also noted how the device can help the negative impact that readmissions after surgery can have on reimbursement rates for hospitals.
- Courtney Hale, who lists his title on LinkedIn as Chief Hope Dealer at Super Money Kids Co., captured the $13,000 cash prize in the “Up and Running” category for a program that provides what he described as “social-enterprise inspiring ambition, hope and innovation through financial education.”
- Finally, Faye Pryor captured the “Crowd Favorite” award and $3,000 for a prototype of the PottyCap that she described as a “portal urinal for women” who are hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated. She’s a Physical Therapist who said that men have a readily available device when they could not get out of bed to urinate, but women did not have a convenient alternative.
The third competitor in the “Launch” category – PottyCap was also in that grouping – was Roy Scott, Founder and CEO of Healthy Hip Hop, who described his product as an “urban Disney where Spotify meets TikTok in a curated environment that is family friendly.” The remaining competitors in the “Up and Running” category were: (1) Brittany Cole, Founder of Career Thrivers, a company focused on developing and advancing Black and brown talent into leadership positions; and (2) Joshua Mundy, Co-Founder of Pivot Technology School that operates a 20-week accelerator program to prepare minorities for careers in technology fields.
The next edition of “Pitch for Good” is set for May 27 when the focus will be on healthcare.