AMERICA’S SBDC NEW JERSEY ANNOUNCES SMALL BUSINESS WINNERS DURING ITS INTERNET MARKETING WEEK PITCH COMPETITION
December 22, 2014 (Newark, NJ) – The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC) network’s E-Business Specialty Program announced the winners of the inaugural 2014 New Jersey Small Business Internet Marketing Week Pitch Competition. Eight entrepreneurs of the more than two dozen companies attending the seminar series were selected as finalists. Those small business owners and entrepreneurs attending the three day series gave five-minute elevator pitch presentations to a panel of judges including entrepreneurs, small business lenders, business management consultants and leadership from the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers network.
Internet Marketing Week focused on supporting small businesses including those affected by Hurricane Sandy. According to the event’s organizer, Sunny Kancherla, NJSBDC’s Lead Consultant for the E-Business Specialty Program, this year’s Entrepreneur Pitch Competition participants were truly outstanding.
“We were so impressed with this cohort of entrepreneurs that demonstrated thoughtful, innovative and realistic growth strategies based on what they learned during the conference,” said Sunny Kancherla. “Choosing the winners was incredibly difficult, but we managed to choose the top three candidates based on the quality of their presentations, their potential for growth and their overall digital strategy.”
The expert industry judges who were carefully selected to oversee the winners of the pitch competition included Vincent Vicari (Director of the NJSBDC at Bergen Community College), Kevin Chu (Loan Program Manager at the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation), Cheryl McCants (Principal at Impact Consulting), and Anthony Alvarez (Principal at Anthony Alvarez Photography).
The 2014 New Jersey Small Business Internet Marketing Week Pitch Competition winners are:
- 2014 Most Innovative Pitch Winner— Earlene Cruz of Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business received the highest marks for innovation with her growing social entrepreneurship concept KitchenConnection.org Kitchen Connection is a platform that virtually connects individuals by two common interests: Food and cooking. A portion of the funds contributed to the Cheffies for their time goes toward the alleviation of global hunger through our international partner, Action Against Hunger, whose mission is to save lives by eliminating hunger through the prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition, especially during and after emergency situations of conflict, war and natural disaster.
Our partners, chefs and culinary schools alike, are all over the world, but Kitchen Connection is not only for the professionals. It’s for culinary enthusiasts everywhere. Why not share the meals we share with each other and with the rest of the world? Discover a new recipe—discover a new culture. Sign up for free and get cooking today!
- 2014 Best Overall Pitch Winner — Sequoya Jones of Newark’s Downtown Halsey Street district for her boutique fashion company Kali Kouture Inc. Jones’ growing company provides the ultimate trends of fashion at its best. As a passionate entrepreneur, Jones believes that Kali Kouture can satisfy every woman’s vision for couture fashion for any and every occasion. Kali Kouture promises a merchandise and shopping experience to last a lifetime at both at her cozy Dress Room Boutique and online at Kalikouture.com.
- 2014 Best Growth Pitch Winner—Lisa Kearney of the newly relocated K & S Tire Service in Hudson County, NJ. K & S is a family-owned business providing professional truck and tire repair services to the transportation industry. K & S Tire Service professionals have over forty years of experience in the trucking industry. The general business is tire repair on tractors, trailers and chassis for small to mid-size transportation companies and owners-operators. Their primary customers come from the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut tri-state area and Canada. In order to better service customers’ needs, the business offers road services, on-site repair services and fleet maintenance programs.
Each Winner receives over $2,500 in professional and specialty consulting services from participating companies including cash flow and financial guidance from Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation, Internet marketing presence maximization from the TheDigitalStrategists.com, strategic planning advice from Jalima & Associates, branding and communication advice from Impact Consulting, professional head shots and brand positioning from Anthony Alvarez Photography, mobile application development readiness assessments from NJSBDC client Tap Factory Apps, and general business consulting, advocacy and support from the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers.
In addition, the pitch participants received a pledge of support from each of the participating organizations and expert speakers who agreed to make themselves available to assist in helping fine tune their pitch and execute their newly developed digital marketing strategy for 2015. These pitch finalists receive over five hours of coaching support from the NJSBDC’s E-Business Specialty Program through three consultants, advocacy from the conference panelists, and much more.
“I’ve been teaching in marketing and management for 26 years at the college level,” explained one of the event’s pitch competition judges, Vincent Vicari, director of NJSBDC at Bergen Community College. “What small business owners and entrepreneurs received through this kind of collaborative teaching program is unique. It doesn’t exist in any other environment except for what Sunny Kancherla and the NJSBDC network put together during this series.”
“We’re glad that the Internet Marketing Week series and pitch competition was such a success,” said Deborah Smarth, Chief Operating Officer and Associate State Director.”
“The E-Business Specialty Program and the Team it assembled produced a terrific learning program with positive benefits to entrepreneurs,” added Brenda Hopper, Chief Executive Officer and State Director.
One of the panelists, Marcela Zuchovicki of Jalima and Associates, acknowledged that it was a pleasure participating in the Internet Marketing week and she thanked the NJSBDC for designing such a high caliber program which will produce impact for its business participants.
In addition to the great reviews by participating panelists and judges, Captain Irv Hurd of Miss Avalon Fishing and Cruising who participated in the Internet Marketing Seminar series had nothing but positive reactions to the program. “I have taken several webinars and have been to a few workshops. This seminar by far has been the best. Right from the first night I was given a few inexpensive ways to increase my online presence. I was able to make the changes myself the next day. The panelists were amazing. I was able to ask questions and given insights on my business. When I was able to meet one on one for 2 hours of coaching, it was fantastic! Everyone on the staff is a successful business person, highly respected in their field. The NJSBDC internet marketing seminar was by far the ‘Best’ and informative use of my time. As a small businessman I highly recommend this to all. It will increase your business.”
About America’s SBDC New Jersey (NJSBDC)
The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers network provides comprehensive services and programs for small business in New Jersey, helping businesses expand their operations, manage their growth, or start new ventures. Expert staff and practicing business consultants help small business owners and entrepreneurs to develop business plans, find financing, identify new markets, find procurement and international trade opportunities, commercialize technology and develop an E-commerce presence. This non-profit network, a federal-state-educational partnership, leverages funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the N.J. Business Action Center, the educational institutions that host the 12 centers as well as other private sponsorships and additional grants. The NJSBDC Headquarters, located at the Rutgers Business School in Newark, NJ, oversees the network which is an accredited member of America’s SBDC. More than 1,000 centers and satellite offices serve small businesses across the country. Visit www.njsbdc.com.
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