Marketer, natural hair entrepreneur lead business pitch competition

In an eclectic lineup of business pitches, two marketers, an IT consultant, a dating agent, a natural hair enthusiast and a cleaning service provider are vying for the grand prize of $500,000 and free business coaching in the Scotiabank Vision Achiever LivePitch Competition.

Yesterday marked the end of the public voting period for the LivePitch, which saw six contenders battling for the support of their Facebook peers, whose likes would guarantee three of them moving through to the final round of the competition.

Each participant, being the owner of a startup or existing business, was required to record a one minute business pitch.

Up to last evening, contender Dave Lalltoo had racked up 1.87 thousand reactions for his business pitch, the highest among his competitors.

A snap of Denisha Victor’s LivePitch for her natural hair store Koko.

In his video, Lalltoo described his business, Guyana Premier, as an entity that provides a platform for entrepreneurs to market their businesses by purchasing ad space at a tailored price. Furthermore, persons both local and abroad can learn about the products and services being offered in Guyana, through articles published on Lalltoo’s website guyanapremier.com, and shared to the corresponding social media platforms.

Just behind Lalltoo was Dinesha Victor, Chief Executive Officer of Koko, a natural hair product store which she described as her “labour of love.” Victor had managed to garner 1.6 thousand reactions to her video pitch.

Under the slogan, “Love every strand,” Victor, in her minute-long video, explained what had inspired the brand and stated that beyond being a natural hair store, Koko was a platform to teach women self-love and acceptance.

“After four months of transitioning I finally decided to do the big chop. So I went to a barber and took it all off. And then reality set it—my friends lied and this was not going to be easy. I couldn’t find products or information locally. So on August 20, 2016, I decided to open Koko, and the first day more than 50% of our products were sold out,” Victor stated.

Next up was Hilary Benjamin-Byer, founder of ICT consultancy, New Generation Great Minds. Benjamin-Byer’s pitch of “TREE” (Tropical Rainforest Entrepreneurial Ecosystem), a support platform for entrepreneurs that promises to provide them access to global markets, was in third position with 466 reactions to the business pitch.

Benjamin-Byer’s concept is built around the idea of an ecosystem, diverse and interdependent in its nature.

“TREE will function as a support system for entrepreneurs and persons with ideas. It will foster the entrepreneurial culture in Guyana, create an environment much like our tropical ecosystem, and function as a digital market for persons globally. The ecosystem will facilitate deals for members, which will generate revenue,” the young entrepreneur stated.

Molly Jeffers’ business, “Shermol Cleaning Services,’ located at Diamond, East Bank Demerara, provides cleaning services for homes, offices, restaurants, hotels, and banks, according to her pitch, and makes use of environmentally-friendly products whilst doing so. Jeffers noted that should she win the LivePitch competition, not only would she be able to expand her business and continue using products that are safe for the environment, but jobs would also be created in the process. There were 373 Facebook reactions in Jeffers’ favour.

Just behind Jeffers, at 302 reactions, was Colwyn Abrams, the proprietor of Cwyn’s (pronounced Quinn’s) Domain.

Abrams touted Cwyn’s Domain as a printing and marketing solutions provider, and notably, the only company in Linden that utilizes heat press printing and embroidery. He related that the business currently provides marketing services for 104.3 Power FM and The Café, a television show on the NCN Linden network.

Finally, there was Freedom2Love.

The dating agency by Steve Ezeonyilimba promises to utilise well-tailored programmes, tools and coaching techniques to help anyone who feels “stuck” in their love or marriage life.

“Our vision is to educate, empower, guide and facilitate you so that you can position yourself on the right track to a successful relationship and marriage. Invest in your relationship today so that you can eradicate stress, depression, suicide, abuse, low self-esteem, inefficiency at the workplace and produce a happy family, happy children and a happy economy,” Ezeonyilimba said.

Although public voting has concluded, the real competition has just begun. In the next phase, the top three pitches along with two wild cards will go on to the next round where they will be required to prepare a business plan using Scotiabank’s Online Business Plan Writer, while attending a three-month business training course facilitated by ActionCoach.

After this, they will pitch their business plans on television before a panel of judges. The scores received on the business plan and the television pitch will be tallied to arrive at the winners.

According to the Scotiabank website, the winner will receive $500,000 while the runner-up will take away $250,000.

Last year, the Scotiabank LivePitch competition allowed participants to upload their business pitches directly to Facebook for voting. On that occasion, dozens of persons had entered, and voting had been open for weeks.

Unlike last year, this year’s participants were required to either email their entries or film their pitch using facilities provided by the company. Those videos were then uploaded to Scotiabank’s page on April 28th, and from then, a week of voting commenced.

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