Tuesday evening’s Big Gig, COVID-19 Edition, sponsored by Machias Savings Bank, was a little different than our usual pitch-offs that we’ve been hosting since 2012! The biggest change was that we weren’t packed into a lively brewery or other interesting venue; everything was online via Zoom and streamed live over Facebook! Also, to qualify to pitch, each of the three finalists must have pivoted or created their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides those changes, the quality of the pitches and feedback from the judges remained as excellent as ever!
The first entrepreneur of the night was Jennifer Litteral, who pitched Coffee Hound Coffee Company’s pivot from a mostly café-based business to selling coffee in stores & adding completely new product lines. Second to go was Jesse Lupo of Mossy Ledge Spirits, a craft distillery & tasting room that pivoted to making hand sanitizer and other related products. The third and final entrepreneur of the evening was Heather Kerner who pitched The Good Crust, a pizza crust company sourcing all Maine grains that pivoted from plans to sell wholesale to consumer products.
As always, we had three seasoned business professionals judging the event and giving constructive feedback to the entrepreneurs, but this time the majority of them had first-hand experience in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Those fantastic judges included, Dr. Edison Liu, CEO of The Jackson Laboratory, Michael Ballesteros, Director of Diagnostic and Medical Products Manufacturing for Puritan Medical Products, and Julene Gervais, Host of Greenlight Maine. We were also lucky enough to have Nathan Barr, Owner of Zootility Tools, as a “Big Rig” speaker. Zootility is a great example of a successful COVID-19 pivot, so Nathan told their story about pivoting to make the "Careful Key," a tool to help prevent the spread of germs, during the pandemic.
After the audience and judges voted for their favorite entrepreneurs, Jennifer Litteral of Coffee Hound was crowned the COVID-19 Edition winner and received $2500! Jesse Lupo of Mossy Ledge Spirits placed 2nd and walked away with $1500, and third place went to Heather Kerner of The Good Crust, who received $1000! Thank you to Machias Savings Bank for the $5000 in prize funding, to our fantastic judges, and everyone that tuned in to watch!
Lastly, our 2019-2020 Season Finale was postponed back in April, so be on the lookout for details about our rescheduled event, happening sometime in October!