October 22, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Participants in The BIG Pitch Idea Competition entered the Innovation Connector on Monday with sweaty palms, crazy props, and aspirations of winning a prize package valued at more than $8,000 to help begin or expand a business. A panel of judges that included Ball State students, the state director of the Small Business Development Center, bankers, marketing and technology experts and representatives from DOWNTOWN Muncie heard 37 pitches in the categories of downtown Muncie, technology, and non-technology. The winning pitches were Sean Brady of New Corner Brewery Company in the Downtown Muncie category, Nick & Patrick Rieth, Rieth Brothers in the Technology category and Mark Thompson & Brian Sears, Blue River Towers in the Non-technology category.
Mr. Brady’s idea is to establish a brewery in downtown Muncie. He has been brewing beer for several years and looks forward to a business launch in the heart of Muncie. The Technology business winners, Nick and Patrick, will focus their business on digital story telling utilizing high-end creative videos. Their energy, passion, and presentation skills were very obvious during their 3-minute pitch. Mark and Brian were the winners of the Non-Technology division. Their creative idea focused on a patented process to clean and purify water more efficiently. The result of this idea will save communities a lot of money in their water sanitation efforts.
“Our entire team is very proud of the outcome of our first BIG Pitch competition,” commented Jennifer Greene, Project Manager for the Innovation Connector. “Even more exciting were the 37 pitches delivered by dynamic and passionate individuals from East Central Indiana and the possibility that several of the ideas will lead to successful start-up businesses in our communities. We’ve already been asked when the next event will take place.”
Each winner received a check for $5,000 for working capital, six months space access to The Landing Zone in the Innovation Connector, consultation sessions with a local CPA firm, Whitinger & Company, consultation with local business attorney, DeFur Voran, branding or marketing sessions with Whitinger Strategic Services, a digital marketing consultation with Farmhouse Creative, and on-site business coaching services at the Innovation Connector. Additionally, Woof Boom radio will provide all three winners with a marketing package that will fit their businesses.
Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector, also commented, “Events of this magnitude and complexity require team work from all partners, sponsors, co-workers, volunteers and applicants. The ideas generated from this event were creative and innovative. This is great for our entrepreneurial community.”
The Innovation Connector, East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center, and Downtown Muncie collaborated to offer this competition. Leading up to the “Pitch Night,” entrants had the opportunity to attend “Training Camp.” These sessions included presentations by inspirational business speakers Wil Davis from Ball State Innovation Corp., Thaddeus Rex, of ”Sell it Like a Rock Star,” Mike Reynolds of InnovateMap, and Denver Hutt of the Speak Easy.
The BIG Pitch was made possible by a generous donation from the Ball Brothers Foundation, and Mutual Bank served as the project’s exclusive financial banking partner. The BIG Pitch was sponsored by AEP, DeFur Voran, Farmhouse Creative, Ontario Systems, Whitinger Strategic Services, Woof Boom Radio, and Toyota & Scion of Muncie.
“Thank you to everyone who participated and volunteered to make this inaugural event a tremendous success,” said Peggy Cenova, Regional Director of the East Central ISBDC. This evening exceeded our expectations in both the number and quality of participants. Congratulations to all presenters. You are all winners. Keep the ideas coming.”
Click here to see photos from The BIG Pitch.