(Photo by LeAnne Matlach)
When Cureate beta-launches its Connect offering at the Made in Baltimore food fair on June 20, the online platform can call itself small-business friendly, food-focused and now award-winning.
Kym Bryden, the brains behind the site designed to connect small food entrepreneurs and larger institutions, won the Innovation Village Boot Camp pitch competition Tuesday night.
Cureate was up against nine other startups that spent the day at MICA perfecting their pitches and learning about conscious capitalism. Other pitches came from language-learning tool ClassTracks, drone startup Global Air Media and Sunniva Coffee, among others.
But it was Bryden’s pitch that won the day.
While she clutched her oversized check, Innovation Village Chairman Richard May said Bryden’s business was picked because the judges felt she is ready for success.
“We really feel like as challenging it is to connect small entrepreneurs with larger institutions, we feel you are up to the task,” May said to Bryden. “We hope the best for you and we’re here for you.”
— ConsciousVentureLab (@CVLab26) June 7, 2016
Through her work at School of Food, Bryden has seen what a connection with a big company can do for an entrepreneur.
“As an entrepreneur, the most valuable thing is consistent and stable cash flow. You need money to grow your business,” she said. “Part of the reason why it’s so important for bigger businesses to be involved in this dialogue is because they have the means to create a consistent purchase order.”
Knowing an order and a check is coming from a stable customer on a biweekly basis means smaller food companies can actually plan their future out, and Bryden said that usually leads to hiring more employees and growing.
That focus on building a stronger community is one of the tenets of the Innovation Village and Conscious Venture Lab, the producer of Tuesday’s bootcamp and pitch competition.
Conscious Venture Lab founder Jeff Cherry said he wants to help companies have a deeper impact on their communities in a way that shapes how the city grows.
Once Cureate launches Connect on June 20, Bryden is inviting larger businesses to try the platform for free for two months. She said the site will always be free for food entrepreneurs.
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