WIDGETPITCH Creates Chance for Small Business Funding

“But wait, there’s more!”

Ron Popeil, Jack Lalanne, even George Foreman used this line to entice us to tune in for what was coming next. In the same way those late night infomercials use this ubiquitous refrain to sell the latest gotta-have-it gadget, the Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI) and Columbus City Councilman A.Troy Miller are introducing another round of KickStart opportunities.

Ohio has long been a hotbed of creativity and innovation. From the necessary, like cash registers and airplanes, to the curious, such as enameled steel panel houses, to the remarkable, like Columbus’ homegrown Granville T Woods, our citizens have never been short on bright ideas.

Last year Councilman A. Troy Miller launched KickStart, a partnership with ECDI that provided free retail storefronts to businesses looking for space in the downtown Columbus market. Applicants spent a month working with ECDI crafting their business plan and learning how to present to investors.

This year’s program is similar, but instead of focusing on just retail businesses, KickStart Widget Pitch is all about the product, app or service. In a process reminiscent of ABC’s Shark Tank, inventors and developers are asked to pitch their ideas to ECDI and the KickStart panel of judges in order to compete for cash investments. Cash investments may come in the form of competitively priced loan and or equity. Whichever the judges and winner deem most appropriate for the contestant winner’s situation.

Each bright idea must have a professional proposal or business plan that explains why their specific product will be successful, and identifies the potential market and competition.

KickStart WIDGETPITCH Details:

Contestants will submit a business plan and video for their object, service or app to the Economic & Community Development Institute by September 5th. Up to five finalists will be selected then scored on innovation, feasibility and sustainability among other things at the small business conference on September 26th. Investments and other financial business services will be up for grabs for the winners.

Contestant guidelines, dates and rules can be found at columbus.gov/kickstart.

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Douglas Craven has a passion for small business, creative entrepreneurs, and community development. As Director of Development and Marketing at ECDI, Douglas works closely with the CEO, President and Board of Directors in all development and fundraising efforts. Previously, Douglas was part of team Geben at Geben Communications, a PR firm that helps emerging brands and forward-thinking, established companies excel in a social world; Douglas managed teams, created strategy, crafted crisis communication and media amplification for national brands and large non-profits. With more than eight years with ECDI in various roles Douglas works tirelessly to find new resources and opportunities for the businesses they serve throughout Ohio.