Pivot Pitch Competition Reveals Impactful Perspectives

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The Pivot Program celebrated its second annual Pivot Pitch Competition where six members of the cohort revealed their entrepreneurial ventures to a panel of 20 business leaders. Chandra Adams, a Pivot fellow, earned her first place victory of $3,500 for her business venture Lemonade Development, which provides shared housing, personal coaching, and childcare services for single mothers. 

“Lemonade Development is a part of my purpose and this is what I am meant to do,” said Adams. “I prayed for the confidence to speak my vision and for people to understand my vision. Those prayers were answered.”

As part of the Pivot Program, the pitch competition allows fellows to present their business ideas to a panel of judges after spending several months developing their models alongside the expert guidance of Georgetown McDonough faculty. Fellows who would like to advance their venture idea after the program finishes and receive coaching and mentorship from the Georgetown McDonough entrepreneurship community also are eligible to apply for grants and microloans to support their businesses. 

“The hardest obstacle to overcome was how to communicate the complexity of the business idea,” said Adams. “It can be overwhelming, but the guidance from expert faculty was instrumental in helping me break it up in manageable pieces, while also identifying the key aspects of the business.”

Adams plans to attend Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies where she would like to pursue a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a concentration in business and entrepreneurship. She says the Pivot Program has given her the foundation she needs to grow Lemonade Development, and it  solidified her decision to pursue a career in business. 

“I believe that the personal stories of each Pivot Fellow always have a profound impact on the judges and audience,” said Alyssa Lovegrove, academic director, Pivot Program. “Their business ideas are often inspired by the fellows’ unique set of life experience, which provides both remarkable insights about potential customer needs and distinctive skills.”

Watch the pitch videos from each participating Pivot fellow:

Georgetown McDonough’s Pivot Program is a non-credit-bearing certificate in business and entrepreneurship created specifically for formerly incarcerated individuals. Designed in partnership with the Washington D.C. Department of Employment Services and delivered by Georgetown McDonough faculty, the Pivot Program is a one-year transition and re-entry program centered on a blend of academic work and supported employment.

“The reason we emphasize entrepreneurship within the Pivot curriculum is not only to create new businesses, but also to develop their skill sets that are critical to their person and professional success,” said Lovegrove.

This year provided an interesting twist to the prize pool after Melissa Bradley (B‘89), an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, generously gifted $4,000 during the live event. This donation matched the original prize money, allowing fellows to invest in their ventures moving forward.

The second place prize of $2,000 went to Izuo-Ere Digifa for Flolango, a line of eyeshadow palettes aimed at empowering people through positive messaging and poetry. The third place prize of $1,000 went to Tim Thomas for his business venture, Fact Law Research, which provides supplemental resources to lawyers on critical cases.