West Liberty University’s seventh Entrepreneur Pitch Contest resulted in a winning new business, Capes and Tiaras, taking home a prize of $2,500. Capes and Tiaras was pitched by Tricia Goode and Jody Mischik.
“We are so grateful to the Gary E. West College of Business for planning the pitch contest, which we participated in twice. The money we won will allow us to begin to trademark our own original characters,” said Goode, a Moundsville resident, who began the party and event business about two years ago.
Headquartered in Bridgeport, Ohio, Capes and Tiaras offers costumed characters for children’s events. The business started by accident, with very little cash, but it is growing.
Goode also is a photographer and owner of Goode Lifetime Memories. She got into the party business after working on a Princess Tea event in Moundsville. She began to explore expanding the whole princess concept as a business and promotes it on Facebook and a website.
Because most movie and book characters are trademarked, Goode is now working with two authors and a seamstress to create original designs and stories for future use. Currently the characters they employ are generic princesses, superheroes, and fairy tale friends.
“We will keep the characters we have right now, which are popular. Because we follow all laws and rules of copyright though, we are working to create our own trademarked characters for our party business,” she explained.
The actors in the costumes are actually area high school students working part time jobs.
Mischik is her cousin and lives in Cranberry, Pa., and both partners encourage all entrepreneurs to participate in WLU’s pitch contests.
“I really enjoyed participating because it gave me public speaking experience. It is hard to do but so important. I took advice from the first contest and followed through with it. I think that anyone who wants to get started should try it. You get good feedback and learn a lot,” Goode said.
Held on April 28, 2016, at the Sleep Inn and Suites, the pitch contest followed the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours.
The other contestants included, Mystery Shirt Company.org, owner Tyler Brown, It’s All Write, owner Lacy Matheny, Slipper Flipper, owners Matthew and Michael Barcus, Handbags Export, owner Dongyue Li, 5 Week PUSH to a Healthier You, owner Kathi Leonard, Boots to Bees Pollination Project, owner Martin Wach.
“This is the third time that a pitcher has come back to win after not winning in their first pitch. We are happy these entrepreneurs are taking what they learn from the experience and applying it to their business ideas in order to be successful. It shows how successful our pitch contests are at incubating and growing new businesses in our region,” said Dr. Carrie White, director of WLU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and professor of business law and entrepreneurship at the Gary E. West College of Business.
The audience included approximately 80 people who enjoyed hearing about the new businesses, then pick their favorite pitch.
“Our judging panel consisted of Wayne Hardy, vice president of EM Media, Bob Straub, partner of Hartley and Straub CPAs, Julia Bolt, assistant director to the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at WVU and Cory Dennison, president of Vision Shared. We are very grateful for these business leaders for participating and sharing their skills with us,” White said.
The winner joins the ranks of past winners including, Lindsay Schooler of Happy Goat Yoga, Dave McFarland of Mmm … Popcorn, Patrick Fisher of Mason Dixon BBQ Co. along with many past pitchers including Chad Hill of Wheeling Brewing Company and Devin Harrison of Clutch Gaming.
The Entrepreneurs Pitch Contest is provided by the WLU Center for Entrepreneurship and funded by the Community Foundation of the Ohio Valley, the Regional Economic Development Partners and Vision Shared. Other sponsors included the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce and the Sleep Inn and Suites.
The next WLU pitch contest will be held in fall 2016. The Center for Entrepreneurship is a division of the Gary E. West College of Business and acts as a catalyst job creation in the region. The pitch contest is just one of the new business programs that it fuels. Others include a business incubator (housed in WLU’s Main Hall) and an entrepreneurship minor for WLU students.