Yavapai College SBDC Announces the Winners of the 2023 Moonshot Pioneer Pitch – Quad Cities Competition
As part of the fourth annual Moonshot Pioneer Pitch Tour, 17 local Quad City businesses competed for cash and prizes on Thursday, March 30th. Congratulations to the top three winners, AJ Smith of True Course Simulations, Tamara Kieren with a digital app tool, and Amanda and Chris Adam of Bear and Dragon Café.
All participants in this local pitch competition prepared, practiced, and pitched their business start-up or expansion plans to a panel of expert judges brought in from across the state. The judging panel included top business leaders including the CEO of Moonshot, Scott Hathcock, VP of Business Services for the Arizona Commerce Authority Robert Theobald, Trademark and Business Attorney David Johns, and a 2014 Sharktank winner, Moonshot team member, and Author Kiersten Hathcock.
Participating businesses included a wide range of industries including a mobile escape room, food and lodging establishments, digital apps, recycling, training and coaching, and several service-based companies.
The local first place winner, True Course Simulations, was awarded the top prize of $1,500, a scholarship to the Moonshot entrepreneur education program valued at $3,000, and an opportunity to compete at the State Pioneer Pitch competition in July for the grand prize of $10,000.
AJ Smith represented True Course in the competition. “We learned a lot about how we could better represent our business and loved connecting with other small businesses and startups in the area.” Smith agreed that there are many great startups launching in Prescott and the region is lucky to have the support of the SBDC. “We are looking forward to receiving more coaching and mentorship from the SBDC on our way to the State Pioneer Pitch.”
Smith’s presentation highlighted the growing demand for pilots and the high-performance technology and hands on experience used to educate and prepare future pilots for flying. “Everyone showed up with a viable business that could be successful tomorrow,” said Scott Hathcock. “We chose True Course because it not only creates jobs but helps to solve the pilot shortage problem that currently exists, and will help address the continued demand for pilots that is expected.”
Additional cash and scholarship prizes were awarded to the second and third place winners, made possible by local sponsors and the Moonshot Team. The judges selected two other pitchers who demonstrated growth potential to receive the educational scholarships valued at $3,000. The Moonshot Pioneer Pitch event is one more way in which the Yavapai College SBDC team is able to connect with and build confidence in the business community and provide them with educational and networking opportunities to launch, grow, and expand their businesses.
“AJ Smith and Brett Watts are an energetic team,” Hilarie Strong, SBDC Certified Business Analyst, said of the winning team. “They are coachable, willing to learn and grow, and are always striving for more in their business.” According to Strong, these are key attributes to any successful entrepreneur. True Course Simulations Founder and CEO Ray Bedard has plans for continued growth and job creation in the Quad Cities.
SBDC offers no cost, confidential consulting for businesses of all sizes with locations across the county. Register for services at yc.edu/sbdc or call 928-717-7232.
Area entrepreneurs can find out more information about the complete tour and participating communities at moonshotaz.com.
Learn more about True Course Simulations at tcsims.com.
About Yavapai College: Yavapai College offers life-changing personalized education, career training, lifelong learning and workforce development opportunities online and in person at six locations across beautiful Yavapai County, AZ.
About Moonshot: Moonshot (www.moonshotaz.com) is a 21-year-old 501(c)3 non-profit. The mission of Moonshot is to assist both entrepreneurs in building and scaling start-ups as well as developing entrepreneurial ecosystems for economic development purposes across Arizona.
Event Sponsors: Moonshot Az, Yavapai College SBDC, Yavapai College, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Arizona Commerce Authority, Pinnacle Bank, Regional Economic Development Center, Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO), Town of Chino Valley, City of Prescott, LaserGirl SkinCare, Eightfold Technology, Prescott Executive Offices, and Jersey Lilly Saloon. We also have several in kind sponsors providing resources to the winners and supporting the promotion of the event including the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, The Prescott Times, and Perfect Angle Photography.