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Entrepreneurs pitch business plans for LaunchU competition

by Kaden Quinn | February 16, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Democrat photo/Kaden Quinn Startup Moniteau LaunchU Pitch Competition first-place Kayla Cornine brought home $2,250 in seed money for her business.

Five entrepreneurs met to pitch their respective business models for a chance to win seed money given by the Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council.

Each participant won a certain amount of money taken from $8,000 in funds and was distributed among the group while they were judged between first through fifth place.

With MRED hosting the Startup Moniteau LaunchU classes, these individuals had been learning how to grow their business for some time. Each came to Co-Mo Electric Cooperative's community room prepared with a presentation and pitch for others to judge. However, the challenge was not only to sell their business but to sell them to each other.

Lauren Carter, director of the Small Business Development Center with Lincoln University, worked with the participants to help build their skills as business owners alongside MRED President Mike Kelley. She worked to set the parameters of the competition, as she and the entrepreneurs agreed each presenter would be given eight minutes to finish their pitch with a two-minute warning and brief question and answer session after it was complete.

From there, the presenters were able to give their business pitches. Kayla Cornine represented her and her sister Kimberly Harver's venture, Kay Marie Boutique; mother and daughter participants Ingrid and Amanda Keene represented two respective businesses, The Contour Cayuga and Flowers on Phoenix U-Pick Flower Farm; Amanda Purvis represented Railhouse Boutique; and Toni Kueffer represented Red K: Design and Showroom.

After each pictured their model and vision for their business, scores were tallied and given to Kelley and Carter. Before each entrepreneur was placed, Carter asked that everyone give themselves a round of applause for their hard work. Later that night, she said taking this class and receiving this seed money is only the beginning of a long journey of entrepreneurship, and she would be available to get in contact with, if necessary.

The first-place winner of the Startup Moniteau LaunchU Pitch Competition was announced as Kayla Cornine, and she was awarded $2,250 in start-up funds. Amanda Keene won second place with $1,750 in funds; Ingrid Keene won third place with $1,600 in funds; Toni Kueffer won fourth place with $1,300 in funds; Amanda Purvis won fifth place with $1,100 in funds.

The group will be using their seed money to save, invest or use to build upon their small businesses. The goal is to use the resources and skills that were given to them during their classes in order to enhance their experience as entrepreneurs.

Carter said she had always seen the most success with Moniteau County as it seems to be the area that produces prosperous entrepreneurs. She said she believed it was because of all the support the community gives. She said if they come together and continue to grow their network of business owners, they will eventually become great resources for the next LaunchU class.

photo Democrat photo/Kaden Quinn MRED president Mike Kelly and SBDC director Lauren Carter stands with the graduating LaunchU class after their participation in the Startup Moniteau LaunchU Pitch Competition.
photo Democrat photo/Kaden Quinn The Startup Moniteau LaunchU class of 2022 stands together behind their business products in celebration of their work together. Left to right: Amanda Purvis, Toni Kueffer, Kayla Cornine, Ingrid Keene and Amanda Keene.

Print Headline: Entrepreneurs pitch business plans for LaunchU competition

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