Organic and natural product entrepreneurs will have a chance to pitch their young companies virtually to a panel of expert judges this year, as Naturally Boulder’s annual pitch slam competition moves online.
As part of the “Shark Tank”-style contest on Oct. 29, 10 entrepreneurs will each have three minutes to make their pitch and three minutes to answer questions from the judges.
One startup will be crowned the winner and walk away with a prize package that could help launch their business to new heights: a free booth at Natural Products Expo East 2021, a guaranteed opportunity to pitch at the Expo East Pitch Slam and a suite of business services ranging from legal advice to package design and strategy. The second- and third-place winners will also get free business services.
The event, which is celebrating its 16th year, will be streamed online because of COVID-19, which will allow people from all over the world to watch the entrepreneurs’ pitches and cast their vote for the winner. It’s organized by Naturally Boulder, a Boulder-based nonprofit founded in 2005 that supports the city’s natural products community through networking events, educational opportunities, mentoring for startups and more.
“The pitch slam won’t be just an abbreviated version of previous years’ events — we’re creating an even more robust, exciting event that will still allow the participants to share their news and their products, while being fun, interesting and valuable for the people enjoying the event from home,” says Arron Mansika, executive director of Naturally Boulder.
Past winners of the Naturally Boulder Pitch Slam have included well-known brands like Evol Foods and Hoplark.
This year’s pitch slam participants are:
- Beyond Microgreens
- Bloombox Foods
- Genesee Nutrition
- Khala & Company
- Lark Love
- Mortal Kombucha
- Peak State Coffee
- RoseBud Ice Cream
- Sweet Logic
This year’s judges include:
- Robyn O’Brien, co-founder of rePlant Capital
- John Simmons, co-founder of Weller
- Lizzi Ackerman, co-founder and CMO of Birch Benders
- Peter Burns, CEO and president of ONE Brands
You can learn more about the competing companies and the judges by visiting the pitch slam website.
This annual event also includes the “Autumn Awards,” which are given to leaders and breakout brands in the organic and natural products industry. The newest award, the “Climate Catalyst,” will celebrate key players who are implementing effective climate action programs and initiatives.
The pitch slam and awards ceremony should be a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year.
“It’s been a dark year for many, and now, more than ever, we’re excited to empower young companies that have their hearts, minds and business strategy set on making the world a better, healthier and more sustainable place,” says Mansika.
In the past, pitch slam attendees could meet exhibitors and sample their products at the in-person “Innovation Showcase.” This year, event organizers took a different approach and sent out product sample boxes built around themes like wellness and CBD, fun and function beverages, health-conscious and allergen-friendly plant-based products and more.
You can still register for the online pitch slam and awards ceremony through Oct. 26 on the pitch slam website. The “Innovation Showcase” runs from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by the pitch slam and awards ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m. Passes are $40 for Naturally Boulder members and $60 for non-members.