Pivot Fellows Present Business Ventures at Third Annual Pitch Competition
The Pivot Program’s third annual Pitch Competition was held virtually on Friday, June 25. This event is the culmination of the business and entrepreneurship program, giving Pivot Fellows the opportunity to pitch their business venture ideas to a panel of judges. This year, six unique business pitches were presented and a total of $10,000 in prize money was awarded to the Fellows.
“It was very enlightening to be surrounded by such a professional and experienced wealth of knowledge,” said Victoria Hunt, Pivot Fellow. “And individuals that truly have an understanding of what it is like to be a returning citizen and re-entering back into society wanting to excel and be successful.”
- 2021 Pivot Pitch Competition Winner: LaTasha Moore and Victoria Hunt – $3,000
- First Runner-Up: Pascal Laporte – $2,500
- Second Runner-Up: Kaamilya Finley – $1,500
- Honorable Mentions: Charles Hopkins, Ernest Bokyin III, and Tai’Anthony Carter – $1,000
- Pivot Partner of the Year: LINK Strategic Partners
This year’s pitches included:
Equipt’d, Tai’Anthony Carter
Equipt’d is a boutique vending machine service that would sell sports equipment. These machines would be located in parks and near sports facilities, containing equipment catering to the sports commonly played near that location. If people are missing any of the equipment needed to play a sport, they would be able to purchase their equipment at the nearest Equipt’d machine.
Forgotten Voices, Charles Hopkins
Forgotten Voices is a multimedia platform that would host the stories of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals. The online platform would include videos and podcasts to share the stories of these people who are often overlooked and shine a light on the experiences of those in the American prison system.
Fresh Start, Kaamilya Finley
Fresh Start is an online platform providing information and services to returning citizens. This business venture is a solution to the lack of communication between reentry services and would host access to these services all on one website. Fresh Start is a completed online prototype, only requiring advertising and networking to launch.
Next Endeavour Diversity Staffing, LaTasha Moore and Victoria Hunt
Next Endeavour Diversity Staffing is a business venture focusing on diversifying the workplace, particularly on the employment of returning citizens. Inclusive companies are 120% more likely to achieve their goals. Biases, practices, and protocols make it difficult for returning citizens to find employment. This business model would partner with companies seeking to employ returning citizens and connect them with returning citizens in the Next Endeavour Diversity Staffing employer base.
SURFACE, Ernest Boykin III
SURFACE, an acronym for “Supporting Underserved Remarkable Families Achieve Cooperative Economics,” is a business model that makes it easier for donors to help the families of incarcerated individuals. Videos of incarcerated individuals’ stories would be posted on the online platform, accessible both on computers and mobile devices. SURFACE is supported by numerous local churches with congregations directly affected by the prison justice system.
Tenpen, Pascal Laporte
Tenpen is a business helping entrepreneurs impacted by the justice system earn a legitimate income. Because returning citizens often face difficulty with employment, self-employment becomes a viable solution. Tenpen connects these entrepreneurs with customers. The Beta website recently launched, and Pascal expects the company to generate over $100,000 in the first year.