Five Local Entrepreneurs to Make Case for Cash Following 15-Week Covington Program
Five local entrepreneurs will make their case to judges and the public about their emerging businesses during this week's "Life's a P!itch" event.
The pitch night is produced by Mortar Covington and the entrepreneurs will be judged on the strength of their business plans, creativity, poise, and acument.
Just like the TV series Shark Tank, the contestants will also be competing for money, though not for private investment, but for $20,000 in prizes.
On Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., the five members of the first class, or cohort, of Mortar Covington’s 15-week entrepreneurship academy will each give a three-minute presentation that can be watched the organization’s Facebook page, here.
A panel of experts will award the $17,500 Judges’ Choice prize based on the quality of presentations, the feasibility of the businesses, and how well the entrepreneurs answer questions.
But the Facebook Live audience – and anybody else who watches the presentations over the next week – will vote via text to award the $1,500 People’s Choice prize.
“Basically that’s just the ‘fan favorite’ award. We left it open-ended so the public can vote using whatever criteria they want,” said Jill Schneider, the Mortar Covington program manager for Renaissance Covington (RCov).
RCov, a non-profit that works to energize Covington’s urban core, partnered with MORTAR Cincinnati to create a Covington-based program. It’s a crash course in issues and challenges facing small businesses for entrepreneurs, covering topics that include writing a business plan, branding and marketing, finances, legal issues, distribution, operations, and location.
Coincidentally, all five of the entrepreneurs who made it to the end of the inaugural Fall 2020 cohort are female, Schneider said. Most are from Covington and have either launched a business or have a detailed idea for one. The five:
- D’nai Burnett, of Moxy Rides, a transportation service focused on helping people who had been incarcerated and their families.
- Shannon Glover, owner of Legendary Eatz, which specializes in healthier soul food.
- Gertrude Lorenz, owner of Wild Gardens, which designs beautiful and functional habitat gardens for urban or suburban spaces.
- Michel'e Tevis, owner of Berries And More, which presents cakes and treats as an edible and artistic story.
- Stacey Vest, of East to Vest Productions, which provides wearable art and custom interactive displays for various events.
The winners of the awards will be announced at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 24, also on MORTAR Covington’s Facebook page.
Starting Nov. 17, the organization will also start accepting applications for 12 or more spots in the second cohort, which begins in March 2021.
“Covington is at an exciting point as far as entrepreneurial growth is concerned,” Schneider said. “And after watching these entrepreneurs grow week to week, it’s clear that we’re fostering an ecosystem of support.”
Members of Covington’s Economic Development Department serve on the Mortar Covington steering committee and the board of RCov, which the City financially supports.
“It is another way that the City is boosting our entrepreneurship pipeline and investing in our community's talent,” explained Ross Patten, the City’s assistant director of Economic Development.
“Mortar is a natural step for Covington’s entrepreneurial culture and our values as a community,” Patten said. “The Cov is not a ‘chain’ city – our vibe is cool, locally-owned and unique. Our incentives reward women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses, and we expect to see a lot of highly qualified applicants originating with MORTAR in the very near future.”