LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Dec. 1, 2022) — Ten Arkansas entrepreneurs secured seed funding during Wednesday’s 2022 Pitch ‘N Pint competition, produced by The Venture Center and the Little Rock Regional Chamber. Spark! participants Marissa Cahill, Kenitra Jones and Kathleen Lawson secured the top three awards after delivering pitches in front of a panel of judges and an audience of excited supporters at Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock. Community contestants included Verkeytia Long, Hudson Lawson and James Humphrey who also won prizes determined by audience vote.
The biannual event featured members of the fall 2022 Spark! cohort, providing each participant the opportunity to pitch their business to the panel of local judges. The Spark! cohort represents seven Arkansas-based small businesses that recently completed a 10-week accelerator that helps participating founders scale their company through a sales, marketing, and business finance curriculum and connections with mentors. The seven founders include:
“In its seventh year, Pitch ‘N Pint continues to draw excitement and fuel the entrepreneurial spirit of our local business leaders,” said Pamela Reed, managing director of community programs for The Venture Center. “We’re grateful to the Little Rock Regional Chamber and their partnership for faithfully supporting the growth and success of small businesses, and we’re excited to see how the awarded seed funding will help these leaders tackle their next phase of growth.”
Prizes ranged from $3,000 to $1000 seed capital for the top three Spark! winners, and The Venture Center and its sponsors surprised the remaining Spark! contestants with $500 each. Community contestants took home prizes totaling $1,000. Overall, Arkansas small businesses secured $9,000 during the event. Winning contestants include:
Spark! Accelerator Category:
First Place – $3,000 Winner: Marissa Cahill, Cahill Exterior Design
Second Place – $2,000 Winner: Kenitra Jones, Kenitra’s Travel
Third Place – $1,000 Winner: Kathleen Lawson, Sprinkles and Spice
Community Entrepreneurs Category:
First Place – $500 Winner: Verkeytia Long, Xtreme Clean Janitorial and Cleaning Services
Second Place – $300 Winner: Hudson Lawson, Book Project
Third Place – $200 Winner: James Humphrey, James Humphrey Jr. Scholarship Fund
“It’s been inspiring to watch this cohort’s growth over the last 10 weeks, and their confidence at Pitch ‘N Pint is why we continue to partner with The Venture Center to provide this event and the Spark! Small Business Accelerator program,” said Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber. “Entrepreneurial growth is certainly a replicable process and continuing to give early-stage entrepreneurs exposure to resources like seed funding and networking helps bolster their vision and benefits Little Rock’s 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.