Connecticut female entrepreneurs are making their mark here in the state—and receiving support from organizations like the University of Hartford Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center (EC-WBC) in partnership with the Connecticut Small Business Administration (CT SBA) and Launc[H] Hartford.
On Tuesday June 30, 10 Connecticut-based women entrepreneurs pitched at the virtual Women Innovate Pitch Competition.
The event was judged by:
- Moraima Gutierrez, Assistant District Director at the Small Business Administration
- Ojala Naeem, Head of Experimentation, Personal Insurance Innovation, Travelers
- Andreas Kapetanopoulos, Regional President, CT NBT Bank
- Sabrina Tucker-Barrett, Founder and CEO, Girls for Technology
WBC Program Manager Milena Erwin, who moderated the event, says she was excited to host the inaugural Women Innovate Pitch competition. “We’re proud to be part of the region’s efforts to highlight and support women entrepreneurs and innovators, encouraging high-potential technology solutions as well as ideas with social impact,” she emphasized. “These times of crises have spurred many innovations, and we look forward to keeping the momentum with future events.”
Each pitch was judged on three criteria: innovation, impact, and business viability. After a three-minute presentation, the women underwent a three-minute Q&A from the judges, who asked about pricing and costs, marketing and branding, service options, and competition.
The audience heard pitches from:
Cloud 9 Online Co-Founder Delanea Davis
Learn more: CT Women-Owned Wellness Startup Embraces Health Tech
Excellens, LLC Founder Tamika Brock-Staples
Face & Body Institute of New England Founder Marissa Watson
IT Helps, LLC Founder Susan Dong
Klassic Kreations Founder Kim Larkin
Land Maverick Founder Emily Yale
Phoenix Professional Services, LLC Founder Tamar Draughn
seedership Co-Founder Jennifer Smithberger
Learn more: CT Startup Helps Small Businesses Track the Ways They’re Doing Good
Untapped Potential Candace Freedenberg spoke with attendees about the ways her organization helps bring opportunities to the market, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She also talked about the importance of networking and following through on connections, whether they’re in-person, virtual, or through LinkedIn, noting that it’s critical to make meaningful connections “even before you’re successful.”
The Bolder Company founding partners, Jenny Drescher and Ellen Feldman Ornato provided tips for improving your virtual pitch presence and online delivery. Ellen’s suggestions included checking your sound and lighting and looking at where your face is on your screen. Jenny noted that women, particularly, need to be away of “upspeak” (i.e., turning every sentence into a question) and talking too fast. “Practice until you slow down,” she recommended.
And the winners are…
The judges returned with $500 winners in two categories:
- Technology Business Winner — Lactation Innovations
- Traditional Business Winner — Face & Body Institute of New England