Sayda Farrell stood behind the podium and surveyed the entrepreneurs, guests and judges awaiting her performance Monday at the Kardiac Club at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Farrell is the founder of the Marshmallow of the Month Club, a unique flavor experience that offers customers a subscription-based gift box service where they can receive or deliver monthly boxes of homemade marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate sauces. She was one of seven small business services participating in the showcase, which allowed them to pitch their business to a panel of three judges — similar to ABC’s “Shark Tank” television show — with the winner winning $10,000 for their business.
In a 15-minute presentation, all participants provided the judges with information about how their businesses have grown, the challenges they face in their industries and stories about what makes them successful owners. The judges also asked them questions after their performance.
“I was a little nervous before going up there,” Farrell said. “For my numbers, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to perform them, but when I got up there I was like, ‘Have fun. You got that.”
After deliberation by judges — Vaughn Johnson, Cuyahoga County Deputy Director of Economic Development, Tessa Jackson, Director of Economic Development for the City of Cleveland and Peter John-Baptiste, Browns Senior Vice President of Communications — Farrell won the award.
She kept a smile on her face the rest of the night as she carried her holiday check and received congratulations from each of the other participants, who all also received $2,500 for their business and work in JumpStart’s Small Business Impact Program.
“I’m impressed,” Farrell said with a laugh. “It’s a testament not just to the 10 grand but to what I’ve done over the last 12 weeks.”
Each participant spent 12 weeks preparing through the JumpStart program for the pitch, which was the first of four events the Browns have partnered with JumpStart to accelerate the growth of Black and Latino entrepreneurs in the Cleveland area. JumpStart is a nationally recognized venture development organization providing capital, services and connections to help entrepreneurs grow, researchers commercialize and corporations innovate.
A Small Business Boot Camp (Sept. 7), a first and technical networking event (Oct. 11) and a second showcase event (Dec. 7) will also be held at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Other business attendees Monday included Concession Stand, Sauce the City, Rhonda Crowder and Associates, Village Trends Boutique, CoCo D. Luxe Beauty and Cure Nail Gallery.
“Being able to align with the Browns, get visibility and be able to use the Browns brand is something that is impactful for every graduate tonight,” said Lorne Novick, Chief Services Officer for JumpStart. “The Browns have directly allowed us to pay for a bigger event, to be able to promote the event a little more heavily, and also to do events that we haven’t done before at FirstEnergy Stadium other than the Impact program.”
The Browns wanted to partner with JumpStart to help expand the large collection of minority-owned small businesses in the Cleveland area.
“We’re always going through a strategic analysis of what we can do better, and we definitely saw black and minority-owned businesses as an opportunity to really make a bigger impact,” Browns vice president of community relations Jenner Tekancic said. “When we met with JumpStart and their representatives, we saw how passionate they are about the local community and how they bring everyone together to showcase what the talent in our region has to offer.”
The experience was truly a win for all parties involved and was just the first of several other opportunities businesses will have to showcase their services, connect with other entrepreneurs and gain resources and knowledge to grow their brand and business to a much greater extent. high level of success.
“Even though we’re a small group, we all have different things that we do for the city of Cleveland,” said Courtney Dorsey, the founder of Coco D. Luxe Beauty. “I think it’s great that the Browns said, ‘Hey, let’s sponsor this for them,’ and be a part of it.”
“It’s community outreach, and I think it’s great.”