Today's Nantucket

$20,000 Given Away at 2021 Nantucket Pitch Contest

Updated September 26, 2021…

Four teams pitched and $20,000 was given away.  First Place prize of $10,000 was awarded to Nantucket Crisps, a new snack inspired by Nantucket, that founders Hayden Arnot and Sara Jemison hope to have in stores by next spring. 

The Second Place prize of $5,000 went to Nantucket Captain’s Camp (Madaket Marine), for a new STEM camp to help young women learn about and pursue a career in the maritime industry.  Founder Catherine Slattery is hoping to launch by next summer.

Two honorable mentions with prizes of $2,500 each went to Nantucket Faraway Chocolate, the first bean-to-bar chocolate factory on Nantucket which is currently selling their product online, and to Faraway Gallery, an e-commerce art gallery that aims to help local artists sell their works off-island.

The next Nantucket Pitch competition will be held in September of 2022. The goal is to showcase local entrepreneurs that have a real shot at launching a viable business on the island that can eventually scale beyond Nantucket.  This year was a celebration of a return to normal, where entrepreneurs can feel more confident launching a new business.


Friday, September 24, four island entrepreneurs competed for $20,000 in prize money at the Second Annual Pitch Competition, presented by The Nantucket Island Center for Entrepreneurship (NICE).

Inspired by the popular television show “Shark Tank,” the competition will be held in the Nantucket Dreamland Theatre from 5:30 to 7 pm in front of a live audience. Pitch contestants were chosen from applicants who operate existing island businesses looking to evolve and from applicants who plan to start new businesses on Nantucket Island. The 2021 contestants–Catherine Slattery of Nantucket Island Captains’ Camp, Hayden Arnot & Sara Jemison of Nantucket Crisps, Andre Marrero of Nantucket Faraway Chocolate, and Pete & Lucie Arsenault of Faraway Island Gallery–will be introduced with backstory videos produced by the team at NCTV. Then each will have 3 to 5 minutes to deliver a pitch and must field questions from the panel of judges.

Nantucket resident and actor John Shay will MC this year’s show, and judges for the 2021 competition are Jamie Siminoff, Elin Hilderbrand, and Bruce Percelay.

A lifelong inventor, Jamie Siminoff created the world’s first wifi video doorbell while working in his garage in 2011. The doorbell, then called DoorBot, has since transformed into what’s now known as Ring, a trusted, customer-first, whole-home security company.  Jamie pitched his idea on the hit TV show Shark Tank, but none of the “sharks” gave him a deal. He pursued his business concept without them and met with great success. Shark Tank then invited him back to their show as a “guest shark.”

Elin Hilderbrand is a #1 New York Times best-selling author of 27 novels, including Summer of ‘69 and Golden Girl. She’s a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. Elin is the mother of three Nantucket natives and has lived on the island year-round since 1993. She’s also a breast cancer survivor.

Bruce Percelay founded The Mount Vernon Company, a real estate investment and development firm which owns and manages more than 2,000 apartments, five hotels, and a range of commercial properties in New England. Percelay is the publisher of Nantucket Magazine and wrote the book Packaging Your Home for Profit.

Judges will rate the four Pitch teams on the quality and delivery of their pitch, on the likelihood of success in the next 12 months, on their potential impact on Nantucket, and on how they plan to use the funds.

Business consultant and the driving force behind NICE is Karen Macumber, who describes the Pitch Contest as “celebrating local entrepreneurship… it’s a way to show everyone they, too, can do it and to publicize the ideas pitched so that audience members could become investors.”

The first NICE Pitch Competition was held two years ago, on October 5, 2019, and featured eight finalists who competed for more than $12,000 in cash and prizes.  The 2019 winners were: Thomas Holt for Sandy Pedals, his dockless electric bike program; Sharon Quigley for her concept of Kezia Coffin’s Tea Room; and Brandon Jellison of Lavender Farm Wellness. The competition was not held in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions. The show this Friday will include an update on Sandy Pedals, which opened for business a year ago. Owner/operator Thomas Holt said of the Pitch Competition: “It was a good experience…it helped me get off the ground.”

The Nantucket Island Center for Entrepreneurship was launched in January 2019 with the mission of creating the optimal local environment where resources are provided and connections are made to support the successful launch and growth of new businesses on Nantucket. 

Tickets to the Nantucket Pitch Competition are free, but registration is required prior to the event. If seats remain available the evening of the show, tickets may be sold at the door. Any additional donations made will be added to the prize money given to the winners. Due to the Town of Nantucket’s Mask Mandate, audience members are required to wear a mask during the event.

The Pitch Competition is sponsored by The Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce, ReMain Ventures, N Magazine, Karen Keelan, Alicia Carney, and Cape Cod Five Bank.  Interested in helping support this program through a donation?  Send an email to

photo courtesy of N Magazine

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