Jams and jellies won the day in a hyperlocal version of “Shark Tank.”
Risa Baron, founder of El Cajon-based Jackie’s Jams, took 1st place in the $5,000 Elevate My Business Challenge after presenting to judges Nov. 30 at Plaza Bonita in National City.
A dozen small businesses made pitches during the event, hosted by the National City Chamber of Commerce.
The pitch contest was the culmination of a 60-day mini-accelerator program produced by San Diego-based Lift Development Enterprises Inc. Lift is a not-for-profit organization that aims to help underserved and underrepresented small business owners enter the next stage of business growth by giving them the tools and knowledge to scale their enterprises. More than half of the businesses that take part in Lift are women-owned or minority-owned.
Second place in the Nov. 30 event went to Puzzle Pieces Marketing and founder Angel Mason Broadus. Taking third place were Jatana Williams of Beyond the Sky Solutions; Danielle King of Fitness Is My Sickness; and Jose Miranda of San Diego Premier Party Rentals.
“I would say that most folks truly underestimate these small business owners. All of them leverage personal savings to start their business,” said Kim Folsom, co-founder of Founders First Capital Partners and Lift. “They all joined this program to learn how to improve their operations, product offerings and grow their businesses. They are all committed to growing their employee base and becoming community leaders.”
“Giving our small businesses the tools to grow will lead to new jobs in South County,” said Cindy Gompper-Graves, CEO of the South County Economic Development Council. “Even Fortune 500 companies start small and with vision and the right tools and support become giants in their industry.”
Lift joined with the National University Extended Learning program and Founders First Capital to leverage their online curriculum platform.