SmBiz Pitch Competition Empowers Entrepreneurs

UnidosUS DC-based Affiliate Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School held a small business pitch competition aimed at helping English-language learners excel in entrepreneurship

On March 22nd, The Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School Small Business and Entrepreneurship Program hosted their first SmBiz (small business) Pitch Competition. .  The pitch competition was designed for  adult English-language learners to have a safe space to  tell their story of pursuing their dreams through entrepreneurship. The experience was very enlightening and beneficial to the entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs were provided with an outline of what topics they should cover and how they should present their pitch, as well as an optional pitch competition preparation bootcamp and technical assistance.  Two of the competition winners participated in the free technical assistance option, and five of the eight pitch competition finalists also attended the free pitch competition preparation bootcamp.  The virtual bootcamp gave the entrepreneurs the ability to watch and compare successful and unsuccessful business pitches.  This helped motivate them to practice and hone their skills before the big day.  Pitch competitions are an excellent opportunity for business owners to learn how to represent themselves and their companies. These skills will allow them to raise funds for their businesses in the future. 

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Miriam Perlacio was awarded the second prize of $1,500. When asked how she benefited from the competition, she said:   

“The pitch competition helped me in many ways, the first of which was to overcome my fear of speaking in English in front of an audience. Many times, I have had the opportunity to talk about my business, but each time that it was in English, is something that has made me very uncomfortable. I could have had the opportunity to say no and skip this competition, but I wanted to prove to myself that sometimes in those awkward moments, I can get something good out of it.”  

We also asked the participants of the competition what they would have done differently for the pitch competition? Some responses were: 

“I would have relaxed and enjoyed the moment. I would have prepared more.” 

“I would have practiced a little bit more. I didn’t realize how nervous I was until my legs started shaking!” 

The entrepreneurs were competing for three grand prizes: 1st place $2,500 , 2nd place $1,500, and third place $1,000.  

The judges included professionals and experts from many different organizations including UnidosUS, Washington DC Mayor’s Office Of Latino Affairs, Crossroads Community Food Network, The Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce ,The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, PNC Bank, and a Carlos Rosario School Board Member. 

The entrepreneurs that participated in this event worked very hard to prepare for this competition. The Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School Small Business and Entrepreneurship Program continues to work hard and hopes to continue this event for years to come.