Entrepreneurs Brew Success at Pitch ‘N Pint, Secure Seed Funding

Posted on June 30, 2023
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 29, 2023) — A fresh round of entrepreneurs in Arkansas secured more than $10,000 in seed funding during Wednesday’s 2023 Pitch ‘N Pint competition, an event organized by The Venture Center, the Little Rock Regional Chamber and Apptegy. This year’s top honors were claimed by:


  • First place: $5,000 –  Tim Turner of Kingdom Made Treats, an Italian Ice catering service with mobile storefronts
  • Second place: $3,000 – Charles Gilmer with Stout Stallion, a mobile bar service for events  
  • Third place: $2,000 – John Dick of Plug and Scrub, an original dishwashing product for improved accessibility 
  • Community prize: $100 – Gary Plummer of SAP’S Creole Cuisine, an authentic Creole restaurant in Maumelle


The event included pitches from 18 different entrepreneurs total representing a variety of backgrounds and experiences, including agriculture, life and business coaching, legal services, architecture, and education technology. Open to the community, the competition offered each contender an opportunity to present their business ideas to a local panel of judges: 


  • Esperanza Massana-Crane – Director, Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise, Arkansas Economic Development Commission 
  • Jessica Johnston-Meyers – Vice President of Sales Development, Apptegy 
  • Bjorn Simmons – Ecosystem Builder, Venture Catalyst, and Champion for Inclusive Innovation
  • Craig Calafati –  Executive Vice President, Arkansas Capital Corporation


This “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition supporst innovative Arkansans with an eye on entrepreneurism by providing an opportunity to share, network, and have fun while competing for grand prizes. Pitches were judged based on information provided about the problem, value proposition, target market, and memorability. Winners showed creativity, props, and product demonstrations.


Now in its eighth year, Pitch ‘N Pint maintains its momentum in energizing the entrepreneurial spirit of local Arkansans, according to Mimi San Pedro, chief strategy officer for The Venture Center. “There’s always a lot of energy in the room during our Pitch ‘N Pint events, and tonight the determination of participants was tangible. Stay tuned and pay close attention – this won’t be the last time you hear about these remarkable individuals and the plans they have.” 


Sponsored by Apptegy, Pitch ‘N Pint is a biannual collaboration between The Venture Center and the Little Rock Regional Chamber to encourage local business owners, freelancers, and inspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a panel of local judges with the support of audience members. 


Reflecting on the event, Jay Chesshir, President and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber, said, “Pitch ‘N Pint is a celebration of vision, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit. By offering seed funding and networking, we not only bolster individual visions but also fuel our collective economic future.”


Funding support for the competition was provided by The Venture Center and Little Rock Regional Chamber,  Entergy, Arkansas Money & Politics, Think Rubix, Frost PLLC, Wright Lindsey Jennings, Simmons Bank, Central Arkansas Library System, Apptegy, and Arkansas Capital Corp.


To learn more about the Pitch ‘N Pint event, visit www.venturecenter.co/pitchnpint.




About The Venture Center
The Venture Center is a globally recognized Arkansas-based Entrepreneurial Support Organization (ESO) that helps entrepreneurs turn their start-ups into viable, high-growth businesses. By leveraging the expertise of a world-class team of mentors, intensive programming, and introductions to the investor community, The Venture Center serves as an engine for economic growth in Arkansas and beyond.  Learn more at www.venturecenter.co. Follow The Venture Center on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter(@VentureCenter), and Instagram.


About the Little Rock Regional Chamber

The Little Rock Regional Chamber is the principal business-driven leadership organization responsible for fostering the economic growth and development of the Little Rock region to ensure that business and industry may operate profitably and enhance the earning opportunities and quality of life for every citizen.