Friday, October 24, 2014

E for All -- All Ideas Pitch Contest Recap

When E for All invites "all ideas" to a pitch contest, the variety is truly amazing. It covered everything from self-heating soap to mobile auto detailing. Plus, there were pink fairies and a live hedgehog!
Suggestion Fairy
You know it's going to be a fun event when the first person you see is wearing pink fairy wings. Usman Mutawakil was there to pitch Suggestion Fairy,  an anonymous suggestion box that allows restaurants to catch potentially negative customer feedback before it gets out to review sites, and to respond directly to the customer as soon as they become disgruntled.

I was eager to see the new second floor space at El Taller and was not disappointed. It's a wonderful space for a pitch contest, a theater performance, or a meeting (maybe for planning a revolution).  El Taller did a great job of hosting, with fabulous snacks and a warm welcome from Mary Guerrero (speaking of women entrepreneurs...).
Sunday Dinner Stories
I had a delightful chat with Michelle of Sunday Dinner Stories about the importance of recording the family stories. Later that segued into a conversation about when and how the "center of the universe" moved from Cambridge to Somerville (oddly, this was just before this Globe story about cities wanting to become the next Somerville came out.)
Connor Miller - The Soap Guy
Connor Miller showed me his heated soap.  It did indeed feel warm when he added water. Basically, H.OAP (Heated Soap)  is a bar of soap that emits heat when it comes in contact with water.  What a great idea for places/situations where there's no hot water! Camping, military deployment, rural areas, I can think of all kinds of applications for this. Connor nailed his pitch. H.OAP won both first prize and fan favorite.
Fresh Beginnings Answering Questions
Tamea Bacon and Sara Calapiz pitched  Fresh Beginnings  -- organic, nutritious and conveniently portioned meals for young children.  Little meals for little kids, but packing loads of nutrition without the additives and processing of commercial purees and kiddie meals. Their excellent pitch earned them third prize money.
Stopping by the Innovation Women Table
Bobbie Carlton and Kristen Avini from Mass Innovation Nights were there to pitch Innovation Women, a much-needed speaker's bureau for women entrepreneurs and techies. There are an amazing number of women innovators and entrepreneurs out there so it ought to be easier to get them onto the stage at conferences and events. Lots of people were stopping by and asking questions. As you would expect from the founder of Mass Innovation Nights, Bobbie nailed the pitch.

BobbieC Pitching Innovation Women
So many excellent pitches. So many excellent ideas. So many photo ops with pink fairy wings...

Sam Antonaccio Pitching Foodventure
Lowell food truck entrepreneur Sam Antonaccio of Spiceventure is launching a new initiative called Foodventure. An online portal linking food trucks throughout Middlesex County to provide information about codes, regulations and permitting processes for food trucks in the different cities and towns, as well as giving users a space to share experiences about best practices for food truck ventures. I enjoyed talking with Sam as always. We had a great conversation about livening up downtown Lowell at night with food trucks.
On The Spot Posing For A Photo-Op
Thomas O’Hearn  pitched On The Spot,  a mobile car detailing business that can come to your home or work.  What a great idea! On The Spot won second prize. Well deserved.

Josue Jerez pitched Invest in Tech,  a business skills education program for Lawrence youth. The idea is to give young people money to  purchase PC/tech products/accessories and have them find ways of selling the products through different channels. What better way to learn business skills than actually doing business?
Josue Jerez Pitching Invest in Tech
The wild card opportunity went to EQUESTrian Cards, quiz card decks for horse lovers. The idea is to make learning equine science fun. I have to say that until I heard this pitch, I had no idea how huge the horse business is in this state.
Pitching EQUESTrian Cards

A Wealth of Equine Info

The official photographer for the night was Nowfal of Lookbug, who got an impromptu opportunity to pitch. He did an excellent job pitching (he's pitched at a previous E for All pitch contest) and a great job of perching on chairs to get the perfect photo angle.  Of course, by getting the perfect photo position he missed getting the pink fairy wings into every shot :-)
Nowfal Pitching Lookbug
And guess who showed up to add ultra-cuteness to the event? That's right, it's Eugene! I met Eugene at MIN67, where he became an instant celebrity. Eugene brought his entrepreneur, Brianna, founder of Meet Eugene, Inc. the purveyor of healthy and affordable hedgehog food.

OMG Eugene is here!
What a fun night!  I was impressed with all the entrepreneurs and I love the new upstairs space at El Taller. I can't resist one more pink fairy picture, so I hereby award Best Costume  of the night to Suggestion Fairy.
Best Costume = Suggestion Fairies

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