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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson small business competition urges entrepreneurs to pitch ideas – ‘Shark Tank’ style


Cox Business

Cox Business and Inc. magazine are bringing their annual small business competition, Get Started, to Tucson this Nov. 5.

The event, formally titled Get Started Tucson, will “highlight up to five entrepreneurs who will pitch their idea to a distinguished panel of experts,” according to the Cox Blue website.

The winner will receive over $10,000 in prizes, including a one-year Cox Business technology package.

Besides the various prizes, Get Started Tucson will allow existing small businesses a chance for competition and for garnering publicity.

Pitch submissions close Oct. 26.

Small businesses not competing are encouraged to attend the free event to take advantage of the various “networking and learning opportunities from accomplished leaders in digital marketing, funding and business growth strategy,” explains the event’s webpage, where business owners may also register to compete.

“It’s an opportunity for businesses — including student-owned — to pitch their business to a top-flight panel, ‘Shark Tank’ style,” said David Weissman, the senior director of Public Relations for R&R partners.

Weissman said he encourages people of all stripes and situations to compete.

“We are very interested in getting student-owned businesses to nominate themselves,” Weissman said.

According to the contest rules, contestants must be 18 years or older to enter, and must be the “owner, principal, or general manager of a business that is physically located within a Cox Business serviceable area.”

Five finalists will be chosen by Cox Business and Inc. magazine. Those finalists will present their pitches Nov. 5 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. to a panel of business experts and a live audience of their peers. The judging panel will provide constructive business feedback to each finalist before they select the winner.

The panel of judges will include members like Justin Williams, the founder and CEO of Startup Tucson, which helps entrepreneurs “transform their businesses for growth,” according to its website. He is also Executive Director of InnovateUA, a program that propagates entrepreneurial and innovation culture at the UA.

Also included on the panel are business executives like Ken Kraft, the vice president of marketing for Cox Business, a division of Cox Communications worth $1.8 billion, according to Cox.

Previous winners of the contest include Shannon Sartin, CEO and co-founder of Scraps on Scraps. Scraps on Scraps is a business that promotes composting in order to keep food waste out of landfills.

“[We] believe that small changes can make a big difference for our planet,” the Scraps on Scraps’ website explains.

Follow Andy Alvarado on Twitter.

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