In recent years, elevator pitch competitions have become another popular way for entrepreneurs to raise capital. Several contests are held annually across the country. Even ABC’s competition Reality TV show, Shark Tank, has proven to be fertile ground for entrepreneurs seeking investment capital.
In addition to the chance to win money, the benefit is that there are also endless networking opportunities at pitch competitions, as there are an abundance of entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, and potential co-founders who attend these events.
Precious L. Williams walked away with $10,000 as the 1st place winner of the 2013 Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch, sponsored by PepsiCo and hosted by filmmaker and comedian Robert Townsend. Every year at its Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo, Black Enterprise rewards the entrepreneur with the best business pitch. Candidates submit their best video pitch, and from there the top ten are selected to present in front of judges and a live audience.
Williams, a New York lawyer turned entrepreneur, is president and CEO of Curvy Girlz Lingerie, a line of intimate apparel for full-figured, plus size women. She started the business in 2011 to be the ultimate shopping experience for “full-figured divas and plus-size fashionistas” like herself.
The 34-years-old Williams plans to use her $10,000 grand prize to expand her upscale lingerie house party model.
“Currently, I host lingerie parties in the New York/New Jersey area. I want to have Curvy Girlz Lingerie events in Washington DC, Atlanta and Chicago by the end of this year. The winnings from the competition will help me take Curvy Girlz Lingerie to a national level using independent consultants throughout the country.”
Williams has found that in general — when listening to a pitch — the judges want to understand what problems the business is solving, what the business has come up with as a solution to the problem, and what results the business has produced so far. Judges will also want to know how the business plans to use the winning funds to grow the company.
Here are Williams’ solid steps for giving an award-winning pitch: