Entrepreneurs Conference: How I Won The Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition

2012 Elevator Pitch Winner Ebonee Monique's first-person account of her experience at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference—and what's happened since.

2012 Elevator Pitch Competition Winner Ebonee Monique of MamaIWantToWrite.com

2012 Elevator Pitch Competition Winner Ebonee Monique of MamaIWantToWrite.com

It honestly started as a joke.

I’d been a writer practically my entire life and had recently started my own ghostwriting firm, Mama I Want to Write; now I was toying with the idea of applying for the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition. Mama I Want to Write offers ghostwriting services for people who lack the time, passion or patience to pen the stories in their hearts or minds. I kept thinking of all the reasons I wouldn’t win and why other people would have stronger pitches and businesses than me and, before you knew it, I’d practically psyched myself out of entering.

Still, I pressed on.  My family and friends were all ecstatic and supportive as I hit “upload” on my video entry. When I received the email that I was chosen, I was in shock—completely. A few weeks later, as I boarded the plane to Chicago where the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference was being held, I distinctly remember thinking that dreams—my dreams—were only an arm-length’s away.

There were wonderful businesses I competed against, all of them with dynamic ideas, concepts and presentation, so I was naturally anxious to make my pitch. I’d gone over my speech time after time after time, but there was no comparison to standing up in front of a room full of entrepreneurs and judges hoping that my words resonated with them about why my business should win the esteemed title. I was over the moon when they called my name to continue to the next round. I kept thinking, “Even if I don’t go any further, the exposure alone has been worth it.” And I meant it. The moment before they announced me as the winner is almost a blur. I remember flashing back to all the times I doubted my dream, which in my mind wasn’t that fancy or big of an idea, and all I could do was smile.

Winning the 2012 Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition has meant more than I think I could explain, and it’s beyond the $10,000 prize. My father played in the National Football League, but was an entrepreneur for close to 30 years of his life after that. I grew up thumbing through the pages of Black Enterprise; I knew the legacy attached to the Black Enterprise empire and to know that my business concept was linked to that was beyond ecstatic for me. Black Enterprise has offered mentoring sessions and assisted me with promotion of my company, which comes at a price tag I don’t even think I can explain. On top of that, one of last year’s judges, [media entrepreneur and author] Michael Baisden, offered to interview me on one of his shows to promote my ghostwriting business to his listening audience. Mr. Baisden went above and beyond, and actually ran my interview multiple times. Between the Black Enterprise and Michael Baisden promotion and support, I’ve received a steady-on stream of clients. I am forever grateful to everyone who has assisted in making me realize that dreams extend beyond  “la la land” and can actually be a reality. Thanks to Black Enterprise, Mama I Want to Write is more than a dream; it’s my reality.

ACCELERATE YOUR BUSINESS! Register NOW for the 2013 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by Nationwide, May 15-18, at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. To register and find out more, visit www.blackenterprise.com/ec/ <http://www.blackenterprise.com/ec/>

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