Pitch NJ – a “Shark Tank” for Teens
As sharks go, ours were more admiring than predatory.
Start-up culture fits perfectly with Morris County’s youth culture – the excitement of presenting a creative idea with the courage to risk failure. The pitch roster was whittled down to ten (10) teams of 2 – 4 students.
The Keynote Address
Ari Sorken, former CFO of Bai Brands, was both personable and generous with his time. As a keynote speaker, he was informal and revealing about his company’s approach. Bai decided they were aiming for the Conscious Authentic. This was not an existing market segment. Bai invented a market segment along with their brand.
Ari taught that successful companies are bought, not sold. A company should never be for sale.
Bai formed a strong culture; one that snubbed its’ nose at the big soda companies. Yet they were still was able to get distribution and to sell the company (to Dr. Pepper) for a record sum.
The competition format allowed 5 min to explain invention, the market size, the problem solved, and market differentiation. Then 5 min for questions and feedback from the judges.
All contestants were confident, practiced and prepared. Many entries had an emotional pull. The biggest mistake made was being too technical – a common problem for inventors.
The big winner
Won $1000, the big check and a trophy. Also, consulting services regarding their future in business. Their time with Macrosoft’s executive leadership is a prize to be coveted.
Next year, MCECC will aim to get more sponsors so that 2nd and 3rd place winners can go home with a financial prize.