All the contestants and judges

Miller Lite’s Steve Canal (far left) with all five contestants and the judges

Miller Lite brought its Tap The Future competition to Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live on Thursday, July 16.  Girls Auto Clinic partners Patrice Banks and Yolanda Keels-Walker put on an energy packed presentation, answered all the judges questions and were able to walk away winners of the $20,000 semi-finalist prize. This also allows them to head to the finals of the Miller Lite Business Idea Competition, which will feature the winners from Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, and Dallas going head-to-head for a grand prize of $200,000.

The event was hosted by the SVP of Revolt TV, Kenny Burns; Daymond John, “Shark Tank” investor, author and business mogul lead an impressive panel of judges, including: Sulaiman “Su” Sanni and Ben Lamson, co-owners of WeDidIt, a tech company that helps nonprofits raise money and reach new donors through web, mobile and analytics; and guest judge Chris Cera, founder and CEO of Arcweb, a product development consultancy that builds Web and mobile applications for Fortune 500 companies.

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Philadelphia winners Yolanda Keels-Walker and Patrice Banks with Daymond John

Girls Auto Clinic is a very unique concept and is really designed to create a whole new level of service, quality, education and comfort to women as they deal with their cars.Yolanda is the founder and owner of Sweet Extensions Hair Salon (five locations) and a line of beauty products. Banks is an engineer and has worked as both a mechanic and service writer in the auto repair industry. They believe, and so did the judges, that putting the two together while empowering women and bringing more women into the male dominated auto industry will be a recipe for big success. They plan to open a garage like no other. One where a busy mother can walk in, get informed about what her car needs, order the work by certified mechanics, let her child enjoy the play area, and then get her nails, toes and/or hair done all in a clean, safe environment run by other women.

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Manny Alarcon with Fargomogo

Three audience members were randomly selected to give a two-minute impromptu pitch to win $500 on the spot. Manny with Fargo Modo who does “concierge level” IT work, as in getting Internet service to a remote island for an executive to use while on vacation, was the impromptu pitch winner.

MillerCoors’ head of community affairs, Steve Canal gives these pointers to entrepreneurs in their business endeavors, as well as what he hopes Tap The Future is providing to contestants.

How important is the business pitch to startup businesses?

It’s more than just the pitch, you know. Without small business, there is no America. Having an opportunity for these businesses to come out and get a feel from the crowd and from the judges of where they stand, it in valuable. When you have folks like Daymond John, Ben and Su from “We Did It,” and then you have folks that we have from Success magazine, you’re getting a well-rounded response of what your business is right now.

Besides the money, what do you hope the audience as well as the contestants will take from this competition?

Hopefully, they can understand that Miller Lite is here to support small business and entrepreneurs. Before becoming a big business you have to start small, we’re fortunate enough that Miller Lite is the original Lite beer and be where it is today, but we understand what it needs to get to that point so we’re here to support that in the community.

What are some things you want an entrepreneur to ask themselves before they start their business?

First and foremost you need to understand your business and know your business to the T. You have to study your craft, you have to be a true professional and understand the nitty- gritty, the nuts and bolts and know everything about your business before you get in front of an opportunity like this for the professionals to be able to ask those right questions and also to be able to receive. A lot of people are over confident and don’t that the time to listen, so have an open mind and be able to listen when people are giving you a different perspective of what direction can go.