Entrepreneurship for All Greater Worcester, a nonprofit organization that helps underrepresented individuals successfully start and grow a business, held a Pitch Contest for the entrepreneurs from their Summer 2021 Business Accelerator program. On the evenings of October 5-7, eleven entrepreneurs competed for prize money in a Shark Tank style pitch contest. Each participant was giving 10 minutes to pitch a business idea to a panel of judges and the audience, followed by 10 minutes of intensive questioning from the judges. The scores and feedback were recorded, the winners were determined, and the suspense grew until the winners were revealed at the Showcase and Celebration event.
The Showcase and Celebration, held Oct 27th, featured keynote speaker Charles Luster, co-founder of 2gether We Eat, a nonprofit youth farming program that provides food, training, and employment using indoor hydroponics to target food deserts in our community and provide food year round. Charles reminded the entrepreneurs that nothing about entrepreneurship is easy, but if you believe in what you are doing, it is worth it.
Debbi Mallinson, founder of Magic Lamp Consulting Inc, a nonprofit business consulting and grant writing service, was chosen by her accelerator colleagues to deliver a speech on behalf of the class. Debbi moved the audience to tears with her thoughtful inspiring speech recounting the experiences of the entrepreneurs over the last three months. She captured the essence of the cohort with this quote, "We may come from different backgrounds, including the Central African Republic, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the USA. We span different generations, representing Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zs. We are males and females. But ultimately, we are more alike than different. We have come to call each other friends, knowing we can lean on one another during this crazy entrepreneurial journey."
The evening saw five entrepreneurs awarded a total of $7,500 in award money. Debbi Mallinson of Leominster, founder of Magic Lamp Consulting was the top award winner with $2,500, Melody Joy Paine of Brimfield, founder of Imperfect Joy Photography was awarded $2,000, Timothy Brumfield founder of Big Belly BBQ won $1,500, Yonelis Fernandez of Worcester, founder of Smarter Cleaning Solutions, received $1,000 and Alisha Harrison of Milford, received $1,000 for her nonprofit Helen's House.
EforAll is a one-year program, providing additional support through the next nine months, with entrepreneurs having three more opportunities to earn prize money.