The Women-Owned Business Pitch Competition is a ‘Shark Tank’-style competition that provides a platform for a select group of women-owned businesses to compete for a chance to win funding. The Pitch Competition is judged by a panel of successful and established women entrepreneurs. This year, mentorship was provided to our finalists prior to the competition by Dusty Welsh, Executive Director and Lead Program Instructor at the Sister Sprout studio, offering business and nonprofit development framework which guides women founders through each step of the startup process.
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The finalists pitched their business/product before a panel of judges and conference attendees – ‘Shark Tank’-Style – and answered live questions during the conference on November 9.
Read more about the format, finalists and more here.
Each business must have been founded in November 2019 or later in order to compete.
The 2022 funding was a $5,500 cash prize funded by the Stevie Awards and Autumn Consulting, LLC, as well as a certification from Certify My Company (a $4,800 value).
Only 2.3% of venture funding went to women-led startups in 2020 …
WE WANT TO CHANGE THAT
OUR JUDGING NETWORK
Southern belle, seasoned makeup artist, licensed esthetician and member of the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW), Kim Roxie experienced firsthand how WOC have been overlooked in the clean beauty market. At the age of 21, with a $500 investment, she opened her own makeup shop that catered to multicultural women in her hometown, Houston, TX. After running it for 14 years, in 2020, Roxie launched LAMIK Beauty as an e-commerce clean beauty company making LAMIK the first black-owned clean makeup brand carried by the major beauty specialty retailer, Ulta.com- changing the clean beauty game in Houston, Texas and beyond. Roxie has received numerous awards including the Barack Obama and Joe Biden Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service, one of the Houston Business Journal’s “40 under 40,” one of the Innovation Map Award’s “Top Founder under 40”, one of the American Business Journal’s Most Influential Young Executives and “one of the 30 Black Stars” by Face2Face Africa. The City of Houston formally named June 23rd as Kim Roxie day in her honor.
Heather Cox, President, Certify My Company
Heather is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, and consultant. She brings her tireless energy to the cause of making the business world more closely resemble the real world. Heather champions diversity and inclusion through her work as an entrepreneur, giving business leaders the tools to improve their numbers and advance their companies. As President of Certify My Company, Heather assists all diverse-owned businesses to increase their visibility in markets and make creative connections that accelerate growth.
Shubhi Nigam is a product lead at Carta inc, where she builds products for early stage companies. Prior to her role at Carta, she was the co-founder of Insight Browser (YCW19). Shubhi is passionate about taking products from zero to one, early stage customer acquisition tactics and continuous user discovery. Shubhi has been featured in Forbes, Tech Crunch, Mind the product & more, and is a member of the Forbes Technology Council. She currently mentors early stage founders through accelerators such as Founders Institute, AWS Impact accelerator and the Hidden Genius Project.
Sree Kanuri has extensive experience in developing and launching new products from concept through Launch including Market Research, Ideation, designing, Prototyping, Testing and development. She led Multimillion dollar product launches and market penetration initiatives through product led growth strategies. She has more than 10 years’ experience in new product development primarily in the field of Manufacturing, IoT, Technology and Nanomaterials. She holds 4 patents in the field of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering. She received a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Florida State University and an MBA from University of Texas at Austin. She currently manages a $1Billion product portfolio and leads the development of a $100M aaS offer at Dell Technologies.
Shannon Spotswood, President, RFG Advisory
Shannon is a 25-year industry veteran in financial services with an outstanding reputation built on leadership roles in investment banking, hedge fund management, and business development. Under Shannon’s leadership, RFG Advisory was named Best Places to Work for Financial Advisors in 2021 and a Finalist for the Investment News Innovation Awards 2021.
Monica Coburn, Founder and President, Nevada Business Advisors
After 20 years of experience in the banking and finance industry, Monica Coburn became a corporate dropout and decided it was time to launch her own firm to follow her passion and fill a need in helping small businesses. As a result, Nevada Business Advisors was formed.
Ellen Higney, Founder and CEO, Bug Bite Thing
Ellen Higney is the Founder and CEO of Bug Bite Thing, Amazon’s #1 selling product for insect bite relief, with more than 45,000 reviews. Her company gained national recognition in October 2019 after appearing on ABC’s hit show, ‘Shark Tank.’ All the Sharks were biting with offers to invest in the business, but it was Lori Greiner’s ‘Golden Ticket’ offer that secured the partnership.
Karen Coffey, CEO, Karen Coffey Coaching
Karen is proud to be a National Award-Winning Speaker, Coach, and Author of the book: Making Agents Wealthy, as well as recently ranking #369 on INC 500 2020 List of fastest-growing companies. She was able to go from a homeless single mom to create this success story for herself, with no established sphere of influence.
Jessica Kline, Founder and CEO, Backwoods Promotions Inc.
In 2012, Jessica, an experienced rider, created Backwoods Promotions Inc., a Canadian-based company that specializes in motorsports, automotive & outdoor event staffing across North America. In 2020, the company was certified as a women-owned business and received a number of Stevie Awards in the International Business & Women in Business in both 2020 and 2021.
Helen Greiner, CEO, Tertill
Helen’s goal since she was 11 has been to create robots. Now this dream has been refined to delivering robots that help people by performing dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs. Helen co-founded and served as Chairman and President of iRobot Corporation for 18 years. During this time, iRobot revolutionized cleaning with the introduction and sale of millions of Roomba Vacuuming Robots. Helen also founded CyPhy Works, a drone company that delivered persistent drones flying for many hours, days, weeks at a time autonomously.
Apoorva Chintala, CEO, Clocr
Apoorva Chintala is the CEO and co-founder of Clocr Inc., an online platform for effortless and legal digital estate planning. Apoorva won first place among the ten finalists competing for the Women-Owned Business Pitch Competition at the 2020 Women|Future Conference. Apoorva is a student at the University of Texas at Austin working towards degrees in Management Information Systems, Plan II Honors, and economics.
Ellen McAlister, President, Bug Bite Thing
Ellen McAlister oversees the operations for Bug Bite Thing’s U.S. and international business. Ellen is the mother of Bug Bite Thing Founder and CEO, Kelley Higney, and first appeared on ‘Shark Tank’ Episode 4 of Season 11 where the mother-daughter duo pitched the Sharks to invest in the business. Bug Bite Thing has experienced massive growth since it debuted—from hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue into a multi-million-dollar enterprise.