On December 3rd, 2020, BakerRipley hosted its 4th annual business pitch competition “Lánzate Houston.”
In line with everything else this year, things were a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And the BakerRipley small business team worked tirelessly to reimagine a virtual competition for local entrepreneurs.
Despite all the adjustments, entrepreneurs from across the greater Houston area were eager to participate. So they prepared to pitch their businesses virtually to a panel of judges.
The event was broadcasted live on BakerRipley’s Facebook page and the video has more than 3K views.
The competition consisted of two categories, the Product category, and the Service category, with five participants in each. These startups competed for cash and in-kind prizes, totaling about $20,000.
The five-minute pitch
To start, each participant had five minutes to pitch their business and two minutes to answer questions. The scores were based on the type of service or product they were offering, their target market, competitive advantage, and finances.
Even though there were only five participants in each category, the judges had a difficult task when it came to narrowing it down to the top three.
The Product category
In the Product category, first place went to Johanna Quintero – Perez, with her business, Lauranna LLC. An artisanal hand-made clothing company specializing in embroidery from different countries and providing employment for women in Colombia.
Second place went to Nathalie Longagnani with her business La Kolacheria Gourmet. A home-based bakery offering new and original Kolache flavors as well as delivery services.
And third place went to Miryam Saresty, with her business Cafetto Specialty Coffee. A coffee company importing coffee directly from Colombia.
The Service category
In the Service category, first place went to Claudia Montañez with Chispitas de Colores. An event planning business focused on providing all your celebration essentials.
Second place went to Paola Cordoba with her business The Digital Girls. An online portal dedicated to teaching women how to use technology for their businesses and in the workplace.
Finally, third place went to Maria Burgos with her business Trendy Seconds. A website that specializes in serving as an intermediate for second-hand clothing online stores and consumers.
The Fan Favorite
This year we also added a new category called the Fan Favorite. The audience got a chance to vote for their favorite pitch and the winner received $2000.
The first-ever winner was Cesar Vasquez Flores with Biz-cultural, a shop aimed at helping business owners bridge gaps and find opportunities.
BakerRipley thanks all of the partners and sponsors for their contributions, and for supporting our program and entrepreneurs.
It makes us proud to see all participating businesses and we wish them well in this entrepreneurial journey.
Above all, Lánzate Houston is a particularly special place for entrepreneurs and startups in our city to showcase their visions and achieve their dreams.
This year we had an all-female panel of judges. Including Irma Diaz-Gonzalez, BakerRipley Board Member, Julie Garay from City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity, Nancy Alvídrez from Capital One and Evelin Bonilla from Bank of America.