Three local entrepreneurs were announced as winners of the 2022 53 Ideas Pitch Competition after weeks of training, networking and one final pitch.
The competition featured more than 100 submissions and Faith Griffin (The Shaving Step), Kimberly Evans (Just Her Rideshare) and Carly Rhyne (The Ellipticraft) took the top three awards, respectively.
“This year’s competition featured so many great ideas and passionate entrepreneurs who have the ability to launch successful businesses,” Renee Hode, Director of Entrepreneurship and Small Business at South Piedmont Community College, said. “Faith, Kimberly and Carly all have wonderful ideas and we are excited to see their businesses grow as a result of this effort.”
The 53 Ideas Pitch Competition is a regional entrepreneurship competition, hosted by South Piedmont Community College, that allows business owners and entrepreneurs to pitch their big idea in a 53 second video. The top 53 submissions are then given training and support as they pitch their business idea, hoping for a shot at the grand prize of $10,000 for their business.
“The competition and prize money will have a huge impact on our business. This will allow us to go into manufacturing part of our product,” Faith Griffin, Creator/Founder of Favorite Beauty, said. “I had a little bit of money saved up, but this allows me to go straight to the manufacturer with funding and get started.”
Griffin had entered the contest the previous year and shared how she grew and learned from the experiences pitching at 53 Ideas.
“I was able to take feedback from the judges and improve my general framework and pitch deck for my final pitch in the top ten.”
Second place winner Kimberly Evans, Founder and CEO of Just Her Rideshare, agreed with the impact of receiving feedback and support during the competition, even though she had competed previously.
“I knew going through it again would validate some of the decisions we had made from that point to now,” Evans said. “You learn something new. There’s an opportunity to learn new things that you could have missed before. It was great to get in there and meet new founders and learn what everyone else was doing… but also to learn something new.”
Each contestant completes 12 hours of business training covering business model development, customer discovery, finance and pitching. There are also opportunities to network and learn from other entrepreneurs. The entire process culminates in one final pitch day where ten finalists make one last pitch for the prize funding.
“Pitch day was very exciting. It was a big production with cameras and lights and it was a lot of fun,” Carly Rhyne, Founder and CEO of Ellipticraft, said. “There was a phenomenal training on storytelling and how to tell your story that really helped me put my deck together. I felt well prepared.”
Rhyne, a former public health policy professional, talked about how becoming an entrepreneur was a matter of opportunity and a feeling.
“You reach a time in your life where your energy is taking you in that direction. I felt the motivation to do this,” Rhyne said. “It’s not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve gotten some boosts along the way from other partners that have helped us to keep going.”
Evans, a serial entrepreneur who has created multiple businesses, also shared why entrepreneurship is so rewarding for her.
“I started my first business in the early 90s and had a taste of what that felt like. For me, it meant freedom and an opportunity to be creative and share with the world,” Evans said. “Whether I was successful or not, it allowed me to display my creativity.”
What advice would this year’s winner give to others who are looking to become entrepreneurs or enter the competition? Be willing to accept the feedback.
“Really pay attention to feedback. My first year, I didn’t get into the Top Ten and sometimes it’s easy to have your feelings hurt or you might not want to look at the feedback,” Griffin, a current student at High Point University, said. “It’s truly there to help you, don’t ignore it. Really look at what you’re given and take that feedback.”
To learn more about the 53 Ideas Pitch Competition, visit 53ideas.com.
Favorite Beauty is a personal care and beauty company. The Shaving Step is a patent-pending footrest designed for women to make shaving their legs in the shower safer and easier. Learn more at Shopfavoritebeauty.com.
Just Her Rideshare is a rideshare community of women drivers and riders providing a safe, stress-free alternative rideshare experience where women get the right to choose how they experience riding with others. We’re not driving women or creating a safe work environment but building community with them. Learn more at Justherrideshare.com.
The Ellipticraft is a total health product for your body and mind. The Ellipticraft is a personal watercraft powered by elliptical motion that gives users the sensation of running across the water. Learn more at www.ellipticraft.com.