SCORE Cape Cod & Islands offers chance for minority-owned businesses to receive cash awards

Cape Cod Times
Cape Cod Times

SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is sponsoring “Pitch to Grow,” a chance for small-business owners to win up to $5,000 in cash prizes.

The contest is for minority business owners who have been in business for one to three years.

SCORE volunteer mentor Marc Goldberg said the event is collaborative, with a host of business owners, nonprofits and chambers of commerce taking part.

SCORE C&I applied for and received a foundation grant earmarked to help minority-owned small businesses. That $4,000 grant was matched by grants from Coastal Community Capital and Cape Cod Young Professionals. Prior winners from the Small Business Champions awards also donated, as did the Community Development Partnership and several chambers of commerce on the Cape and Islands.

“It’s a real joint project,” Goldberg said. “We formed a collaborative team that includes Live Love Local, We Can, the Cape Cod Women’s Association and Entrepreneurship for All to help us communicate this offering to the community.”

Funds available to expansions, start-ups

Goldberg said the event will feature “pitch” contests for people who want to start businesses. Cash prizes can make a huge difference for owners wanting to grow their businesses, he said,

“Capital formation, especially for this segment, is very difficult,” he said.

A restaurant owner who wants to expand might need a refrigeration unit that costs $15,000 to $20,000. A $5,000 prize could make a favorable impression on a lender, Goldberg said.

Money could be used to buy tools, invest in equipment that would make businesses more effective or automate processes

Goldberg expects to receive about 20 applications which will be reviewed by a team of readers. Eight finalists will be selected. They’ll be assigned a SCORE mentor and a staff member from Coastal Community Capital to help them prepare their pitch for the judges on Sept. 28.

A boost for small businesses

“Most of these folks are small businesses - painters, landscapers, restaurant owners - who don’t make presentations,” he said.

These hopefuls will be judged on many points, including the quality of their presentation. Other criteria include a concise history of the business, including team members, customers and market, what expansion ideas are and why they think the idea will help them grow, and how they plan to spend or invest the funds should they win. Owners will be expected to share revenues, margins and expenses.

Judges will be small-business owners, bankers, funders, and others who are able to interpret what is being presented, Goldberg said.

Presentations must be limited to five minutes. Four cash prizes will be awarded. A fifth award will be given for the audience's favorite presentation.

Apply by Sept. 1

Eligible applicants are: 51% owners, 1-3 years in business on the Cape & Islands (not a franchise), legal resident and over 21 years of age.

Applications are due by Sept. 1. Coaches and mentors will be assigned on Sept. 5. Contestants will have the opportunity to practice the pitches with coaches in the lead up to the final event. The Pitch to Grow contest will be held at Cape Cod Beer on Sept. 28 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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Contact Denise Coffey at Follow her on Twitter: @DeniseCoffeyCCT.

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