It is an entertaining business model that has drawn many admirers – a panel of business experts who listen to pitches from budding entrepreneurs, invest in projects and offer marketing tips.
Case in point, the popular Shark Tank reality TV program on ABC that has attracted an increasing number of viewers since it premiered in August 2009.
Following that model, organizers at the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET) at the Flagstaff campus on Gemini Drive initiated the Pioneer Pitch competition last year, with a return engagement this year.
Hosted by the Moonshot at NACET program, the pitch is a contest for innovators with ideas in need of support, as well as business professionals wanting to expand an existing idea.
“Last year’s event was a huge success,” said Scott Hathcock, CEO and president of Moonshot at NACET. “We had roughly 25 companies apply and extended 18 entries through to the first round. Then, we determined that five companies made it to the final pitch event.” ....
The concept of a launchpad for a moonshot took hold of the nation’s consciousness in 1961 when PresidentJohn F. Kennedy declared that the United States would focus its energy on sending American astronauts into space with the goal of successfully landing on the moon.
Flagstaff played an important role in launching this dream, serving as a training ground for astronauts, including all the astronauts who landed on the moon who trained from 1963 to 1972 in Northern Arizona.
Continuing in that tradition, the non-profit organization Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology became a launchpad for small businesses and startups 17 years ago from its base on McMillan Mesa.
The NACET program houses a business incubator and an accelerator in its state-of-the-art facility, which consists of 38,000 square feet with wet labs, suites, offices and manufacturing space.
Moonshot at NACET designed a program for growing business profitability through “scaling,” the development of more products and services or the expansion of market position....