The Miller Lite Tap The Future Pitch Tour made its stop at the Park West in Chicago recently. The Park West was alive with ideas and inspiration as five semi-finalists battled it out for the $20K that was at stake. This is just one more step to the grand prize of $200K. The contestants were being judged by highly successful entrepreneurs who were able to provide valuable insight and direction to the contestants. The most notable judge is Daymond John of FUBU. John is providing his many years of experience at running a small business as well as judging small businesses because of his years as a judge on the hit show “Shark Tank.” The other judges were Su Sammi and Ben Lamson (Former MillerCoors grant winners and owners of WeDidit) and Raaja Nemani (founder of Bucketfeet).
The five regional semi finalists were Alyssa Vermell Apparel, EDUSafe, CHOP CHOP, Solar Screen LLC and FireStrike. The various pitches covered areas including tall women’s fashion, student loans, fire safety and beauty. In the end, though, there could only be one and Chop Chop the traveling hair salon and barber shop took home the $20K prize.
We were able to ask Daymond John about what he saw as a consistent mistake small businesses make and what they can do to avoid it and make their journey better
He said, “The key to business is to be able to recover from every lesson you are going to learn. You don’t go play the thousand dollar hand in Black Jack when you are just starting off. People think they need to go big or go home and that’s not the case. You should take affordable steps. What you see today from these contestants is that these are clearly people who understand that step. They think this $20K can take them to the first step and they are right. There are a lot of people who would say, ‘I would never show up for $20K; I need $100K. What can $20K do for me?’ Those are the business people who don’t know how to use the money the right way. It’s important to take those affordable steps.”