by Catherine Macallister
Do you have the perfect business idea for Nantucket? Are you a business founder with a plan to grow your business in new and exciting ways?
Put your idea to the test in the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce’s N.I.C.E Pitch Competition. Simply fill out an application on the Chamber’s website describing your innovative idea and you might get chosen to “pitch” your idea to a panel of judges and a live audience. Not only will you be given the opportunity to pitch your plan, but you could win cash or cash value prizes to help to get your business on its feet.
Much like the popular show “Shark Tank,” selected entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their best business idea or expansion plan to a panel of judges who will then have the chance to ask a few questions about the business proposal. Unlike the show though, there will be “gentler sharks,” says Karen Macumber, organizer of NICE, entrepreneur, and a member of the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce. Bruce Percelay, founder and chairman of Mount Vernon Company is one of the guest judges and a number of other highly respected and successful entrepreneurs are expected to be a part of the panel as well. Even participants who are not chosen as one of the top winners will gain experience
NICE or Nantucket Island Center for Entrepreneurship was started in January 2019 by Karen Macumber. The program is funded by ReMain Nantucket and works with the Nantucket Chamber to help launch new businesses and mentor new business owners, “pre-members of the Chamber,” as Macumber says. Nantucket is home to many entrepreneurial businesses, and NICE and the pitch competition is a way to draw best businesses to the island. The goal is “to keep smart people in business on the island,” says Macumber.
The Pitch Competition will be an exciting event for entrepreneurs, existing small businesses on-island, and members of the audience. “Martha’s Vineyard has been doing something similar for about three years, and their Chamber of Commerce has been very helpful,” says Macumber, who mentioned that while the two events were “fashioned similarly,” they will have some differences including “audience choice winners and scoring of finalists.”
Competitors who are chosen to “pitch,” will be given three minutes to share why their business is best, followed by a two-minute Q & A from the guest panel. Following a brief deliberation, winners will be announced and cash prizes and cash value prizes will be awarded.
Those chosen to compete should have specific goals for the money that they could win. “It could go towards market research, a feasibility study, buying inventory…or go towards a lease,” says Macumber. Additionally, selected participants will receive valuable coaching and mentorship from island entrepreneurs so that they are able to go into the competition with knowledge of what the process will be like and best practices. “Learning how to pitch is important for entrepreneurs,” says Macumber, who hopes to help selected competitors “learn a lot and be coached.”
The value behind the competition is immeasurable for those who are starting out. Entrepreneurs of all ages are welcome and there is no fee associated with sending in an application. Beyond the potential to receive some funding to help out your business idea or evolution, participants will have a chance to be a part of the vibrant community of entrepreneurs on Nantucket.
The pitch competition promises to be a fun-filled and entertaining night. Chosen competitors will pitch their ideas to judges and the audience on Saturday, October 5, 2019 from 5 to 6:30 pm in the Dreamland. The event is free and open to the public.
Pitch applications, available at nantucketchamber.org/pitch, are due Tuesday, September 17 by 5pm. Those applying should be prepared to answer the questions on the application clearly and concisely. Applicants chosen to pitch will be notified on Friday, September 20 and will be expected to pitch their presentation on the day of the Pitch event on Saturday, October 5.
The competition is an exciting way to get a new business idea heard and to win mentorship opportunities and cash and value prizes. Prizes are to be determined and will be awarded to several participants. For more details about the competition visit nantucketchamber.org or send an email to Karen@nantucketchamber.org .