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Small Business

Coworkers Win Local Business Pitch Contest

Robert Armstrong, Steven South, Jeremiah Huynh, Mark Peterson, Tri Lam, Dr. Nickey Jefferson and Dane Shaw pose for a photo after the second annual Business Pitch Contest Friday. Lam and Huynh took home the first place award.

Gunning for cash prizes to help with their ideas, twelve entrepreneurs took part in the Business Pitch Contest Friday at the St. James Hotel.

Among the pitched ideas were biogas concepts, fashion designers, alcohol infused cupcakes and a retractable toothbrush, but nothing could beat out E-Tick Et’s duo of Tri Lam and Jeremiah Huynh.

The two entrepreneurs pitched their idea of an electronic ticket meant to help nail salons keep up with their services. Growing up in the business, they felt like their idea could help speed up the process and prevent errors or lost tickets.

“It’s a paper substitution,” said Huynh, a student at Wallace Community College Selma. “We’re just doing transactions electronically because traditionally we use paper tickets. The Vietnamese nail salon, that’s what most of them use, and we just wanted to change it and make it more simple for them.”

Huynh said that although the two of them presented the idea and won the $2,500 prize together, most of the credit goes to Lam, a Concordia College Alabama student.

“Most of the effort would be [Lam’s]. I helped him out since I worked with him [at L&D Nail Salon],” Huynh said. “I’m happy. It almost surprised me that we won. I didn’t think that we were going to win. I saw some people here actually making some good presentations, and I wasn’t sure how we were.”

Mark Anthony Peterson, sponsor and organizer of the event, said the decision was based on the presentation as well as the business opportunity pitched.

“We believe that they could really be a huge big company,” Peterson said. “That’s what I was really happy with. We looked at the ideas that really resonated with the judges.”

Peterson said he was pleased with the participants that came and how well the day went.

“We had teams from Montgomery, teams from [other counties] and then a ton of teams from here in Dallas County,” Peterson said. “We had a range of ideas, all of which could be great for Selma and great for the Black Belt.”

Organizers were pleased with the number of people that took part.

“I’m hoping that based on the sponsors that we had here today that we can not only get people to come out and pitch, but to go and work with the Arsenal Place Accelerator and turn these concepts and small businesses into real businesses,” Peterson said.

“My hope for next year is that we have a prize that’s twice as big as what we gave away this year. I hope that we have a broader range of businesses and tons more people fighting in here to get that money.”

Peterson said his ultimate goal is for the contest to grow into a full summit.

“If we’re going to make Selma a fun, exciting place to live, we got to have businesses that are fun and exciting,” Peterson said. “My hope for next year that we can start getting some of these fun and exciting concepts to turn into fun and exciting businesses that are attracting people to want to come and live here.”

March 27, 2015

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