Pitch your business idea to a group of panelists and you could win as much as $3,000.
The Hudson Library & Historical Society is launching its first business-pitch contest — culminating in Pitch Night on Oct. 28 — to celebrate the fifth year of the library’s free Entrepreneurship Series of workshops.
The series — begun in 2008 with a grant from Hudson’s Burton D. Morgan Foundation — is designed for those interested in ventures or existing small businesses.
The Morgan foundation made a separate grant to the library to pay for the Pitch prizes: $3,000 for first place; $1,500 for second and $500 for third.
“This is something we have wanted to do for a long time,” said Ellen Smith, head of reference and archives for the library and its Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship Research. “This is kind of a culmination of all the education we’ve given to entrepreneurs.”
Smith noted that the library has had more than 6,000 attendees to the programs over the years. Attendees have come from as far away as western Pennsylvania.
The Burton D. Morgan Center and the series were launched with an initial $25,000 grant from the foundation. Burton Morgan, who died in 2003 at the age of 86, founded Morgan Adhesives, now known as MACtac in Stow. He began his philanthropic organization in 1967.
George Buzzy, an area investor and business founder who helped come up with the idea for the Pitch contest, said organizers are looking for business ideas that have a “high-growth potential,” as well as a technology component.
“The idea could involve advance materials, it could be something in the biomedical space,” Buzzy said. “It could be something in the energy or information technology/computer space.”
Buzzy said organizers aren’t looking for everyday small business plans, such as pizza shops and day-care centers.
Buzzy and others will review ideas of contest applicants and decide who gets to vie for the prizes on Pitch Night.
Buzzy said the money can “make a difference” for an aspiring entrepreneur. The $3,000, for example, could be enough to get a patent filed or update software, he said.
To apply for one of the six 20-minute time slots on Pitch Night, visit the library’s website, www.hudsonlibrary.org.
Unlike other Entrepreneurship Series presentations, the Pitch Night sessions will be closed to the public. Pitches will be evaluated on “initiative, impact and innovation,” said the library’s Smith.
This year’s Entrepreneurship Series will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11 with a talk by Ken Babby, owner of the Akron Aeros minor league baseball team.
Next up will be a talk Sept. 17 by author and CPA Carol Topp of the Cincinnati area, who will present her workshop for teenagers: Micro Business for Teenagers to encourage teens to start and run their own micro enterprises. Topp said that entrepreneurs as young as 11 or 12 may be interested in her presentation.
Topp’s workshop will begin at 4 p.m. All other workshops/talks in the series will begin at 6:30 p.m.
• Sept. 25: Small Business Tune-Up by Jim Griggy, with the Ohio Small Business Development Center at the Summit-Medina Business Alliance.
• Oct. 1: (Re)Create Your Business Series/Social Media Marketing by Ralph Davila, area public relations professional. This workshop is presented by the counseling group Akron SCORE.
• Oct. 7: (Re)Create Your Business Series/Law & Finance for Small Business by Danielle Higgins, with the Day Ketterer law firm, and George Buzzy, who in addition to being a private investor works with nonprofit JumpStart Inc., which invests in area early stage companies.
• Oct. 21: (Re)Create Your Business Series/Design Thinking (Transforming Unsolvable Problems into Manageable Dilemmas, Exciting Possibilities and Effective Solutions) by Ken Chapin, with Mobile Innovation Lab.
• Oct. 28: Pitch Night (no audience; closed to the public).
• Nov. 6: QuickBooks Part I by Terry Brundson of Brundson law firm and author of textbooks about QuickBooks.
• Nov. 13: QuickBooks Part II also presented by Brundson. (Participants are encouraged to attend both sessions.)
• Nov. 18: Grant-seeking Basics by David Holmes, with the Cleveland office of the Foundation Center.
Registration is required for the free workshops.
Register online at hudsonlibrary.org or call 330-653-6658, Ext. 1010.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.