Oct 6 • 3 min read
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Judges listen to business owner pitches at the Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Development Week Pitch Competition.

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On Sept. 29, Becca Zinn, Assistant Professor of Practice, Marketing and Supply Chain Management and Director of Marketing for Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC), served on a panel of judges at a pitch competition as part of Philly Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week, Fox MC’s latest effort to help support Philadelphia’s entrepreneurs and small-to-medium enterprises. During the competition, eight Philadelphia-area businesses owners pitched their products and services to a diverse group of panelists, including procurement specialists, leaders from the banking industry and marketing professionals. The event, sponsored by the Urban League of Philadelphia, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of Pennsylvania and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, also provided business owners with the opportunity to mingle with other business owners, contestants, judges and exhibitors providing resources to small businesses.

“Small business owners pitching today have the opportunity to get in front of top individuals from key firms, such as SEPTA, Henkels & McCoy, Philadelphia Gas Works and others,” said Victoria Hosendorf, Director of the MBDA Business Center-Pennsylvania, a federal contract from the U.S. Department of Commerce operated by The Enterprise Center. “If they pitch well, they can walk away with a potential contract and approximately $1,000 worth of awards.”

Fox MC at Temple University’s Fox School of Business donated a one-hour consultation to each of the top three winners of the competition. Winners also received a complimentary ticket to the Urban League’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Luncheon on Dec. 2, and the grand-prize winner received a complimentary VIP Pass to The Enterprise Center’s “Lighting the Torch Awards” on Oct. 6.   

Keith Ellison, 
Program Manager of the Entrepreneurship Center for the Urban League of Philadelphia, which provides technical assistance, strategic planning and resources to help small businesses, helped to organize the pitch competition by recruiting contestants, identifying judges and exhibitors and overseeing logistics.

“It’s not easy to get in front of procurement and supplier diversity specialists at large companies,” Ellison said. “We want to give as much visibility as possible to the contestants. The pitch competition is a creative way for small business owners to promote their companies to judges in 90 seconds and answer questions.”

Victoria Tyson, owner of Victoria’s Kitchen & Catering and one of the contestants participating in the competition, hoped to obtain corporate catering contracts through the event, generate more awareness of her business, and garner assistance creating an operational plan.

“I’m looking for an outsider’s perspective on how to more effectively operate my day-to-day business operations,” Tyson said. “I want to be as efficient as possible as I try to expand within the Philadelphia area.”

For panelists, the pitch competition was a low-cost and uninterrupted way for them to learn about and find qualified businesses. They asked follow-up questions and provided business owners with feedback on their pitches.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with such an impressive group of business owners and to learn more about their plans to grow,” Becca Zinn said. “At Fox MC, we seek to provide resources that will help participants achieve their goals.”

Now in its 33rd year, Philly Minority Enterprise Development Week strives to honor and promote minority-owned businesses in the Philadelphia area. It includes more than 40 events across the city aimed to help business owners grow by providing them with opportunities to learn about government and university procurement, network and effectively market their services.

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Marketing and Supply Chain Management