ABC’s Shark Tank started in 2009 with investors looking to find the next big thing. It has garnered a following of entrepreneurs, dreamers, doers, and people who truly believe in themselves and their product. Average people with an idea they brought to fruition come into The Tank and pitch their concept to a panel of businessmen and women who have proven success in their respective fields. Some times the Sharks believe in the entrepreneur’s dreams and invest, and often times they pass on the commodity of these business hopefuls.
Fast forward to 2014 and The Council of Smaller Enterprises, also known as COSE, can attest that people want to see business competition, and they are making it happen for the third year in a row. The setting may not be the glitz and the glam of TV network studio, but a safari themed oasis in Sandusky, Ohio known as Kalahari Resorts & Convention.
COSE brings their Small Business Convention to Kalahari every October and the COSE Business Pitch Competition is one of the highlights of the convention. After several months and a few rounds of competition, the finals are set in a similar style to SharkTank. The prizes vary from $5,000 for third and fourth place, $10,000 for second, and a grand prize of $20,000 to the first place winner.
Rock The House provides audio, lighting, video, and our social media wall known as SocialCast to the three-day convention. During this time we get to showcase what we do best while enjoying the stories of other small business in the Northeast Ohio area.
Each of the company’s leaders is allowed 15 minutes to present their product to a panel of judges, answer questions from the judges, and field a Q&A with the audience. After that hour has passed, the judges gather to discuss to select a winner for the $20,000 prize.
The first pitch was from Eric Vennaro of Consult Mango. Eric and his company have a strong belief in the education for international students wanting to learn in America. Consult Mango is an advertising platform that helps colleges and universities post ads and create content on international social media.
The second pitch came from Shelley Fasulko of Brewnuts. Shelley began her company with fiancé John Pippin about a year ago. By combining two of America’s favorite things, beer and donuts, you can bet Brewnuts is one sweet deal. They are putting a whole new spin on bar food, and hope to open their permanent location in Ohio City next year.
Thirdly came Ryan Schoeneman of Colby Featherbottom’s Custom Sound Machines. Ryan believes in creating custom guitars at a lower cost and a quicker turn around time. His pitch fits perfectly with a city like Cleveland – the heart of Rock and Roll.
Finally came Natalie Bauman of The Digital Mosaic. Natalie is bringing her innovative approach of video storytelling to families, senior living facilities and senior communities. Her app will help catalog family stories, one moment at a time.
The judges came back from recess, and offered advice to each individual before selecting the winner.
Tied for third place and each taking home $5,000 were The Digital Mosiac and Consult Mango.
After a moment of suspense, Brewnuts was announced as the second place winner of $10,00 and Colby Featherbottom’s Custom Sound Machines became the COSE Small Business Pitch contest winner of $20,000.
Each leader was gleaming with joy for their prize while the handshakes and congratulations came bustling to each of the four contestants. The night is surely a memorable one for each company, and each business is sure to thrive in the coming year.
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