Arkansas Businesses Win $31K in Pitch Contest


Arkansas Businesses Win $31K in Pitch Contest
April Roy is the founder and CEO of FemPAQ in Bentonville. (Corey S. Krasko)

Four Arkansas small-business owners won a total of $31,000 Tuesday at the 2021 Pitch ‘N Pint pitch competition.

The event was produced by the Venture Center in Little Rock, Venture Noire in Bentonville and the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center. It was funded by them and by Arkansas Capital Corp. of Little Rock.

The winners were:

  • FemPAQ of Bentonville, led by April Roy, won first place and $15,000. The company was featured in an Arkansas Business cover story on Monday. The company sells a convenient, sustainable emergency kit to help businesses stay prepared for menstruating customers and employees, and it advocates for ending the stigma surrounding menstruation and for equal access to feminine hygiene products.

  • Cinematography, virtual reality and photography company Edamame Films, led by Ayana Baraka, won second place and $10,000.

  • Certified Pies of Little Rock, led by Samantha Stewart, won third place and $5,000. The restaurant serves up speciality pizza, wings and loaded fries.

  • Pet treat and apparel brand WoofCat of Little Rock, led by Nicole Winstead, won the $1,000 Audience Choice Award.

The virtual contest was held for small businesses owned by women, people of color and veterans whose Arkansas-based businesses have been negatively affected by COVID-19 and whose annual sales are less than $100,000. All the winning companies are owned by women of color.

The contestants delivered virtual pitches for a panel of judges and a virtual audience. The place winners were chosen by judges from Arkansas Economic Development Commission, The Diversity Booth and The Urban League, while the audience choice winner was chosen by polling the viewers. 

The contestants also received a one-on-one coaching session with a mentor and participated in a pitch workshop prior to the event.