Saidah Farrell stepped behind the podium and looked out at entrepreneurs, guests and judges awaiting her presentation 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 pick up or deliver monthly boxes of homemade artisanal marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate sauces. She represented 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” TV 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 drives them to become successful owners. The judges also asked them questions after their presentation.
“I was a little nervous before I got up there,” Farrell said. “For my numbers, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to present them, but when I got up there, I said, ‘Have fun. You got this.”
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, Senior Vice President of Communications for the Browns — Farrell won the award.
She kept a smile on her face the rest of the night as she held up her celebratory check and received congratulations from each of the other participants, who all also received $2,500 for their business and work in the JumpStart Small Business Impact Program.
“I’m excited,” Farrell said with a laugh. “It’s a testament not only to the 10-year-old, but to what I’ve done over the last 12 weeks.”
Each participant spent 12 weeks preparing through the JumpStart program for the showcase, which was the first of four total events the Browns have partnered with JumpStart to accelerate the growth of Black and Hispanic/Latino entrepreneurs in the Cleveland area. JumpStart is a nationally recognized entrepreneurship development organization that provides capital, services and connections to help entrepreneurs grow, researchers commercialize and corporations innovate.
A small business boot camp (Sept. 7), a first networking and technology 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.
“The ability to be able to connect with the Browns, get visibility and be able to leverage 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, be able to promote the event a little heavier, as well as 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 strengthen the large collection of minority-owned small businesses in the Cleveland area.
“We always go through a strategic analysis of what we can do better, and we definitely saw black-owned and minority-owned businesses as an opportunity to really have more of an impact,” said Browns Vice President of Relations. with the Jenner Tekancic Community. “When we met with JumpStart and their representatives, we saw how passionate they are about the local community and how they are bringing everyone together to showcase what they have to offer from the talent in our region.”
The experience was truly a win-win for all parties involved and was just the first of several more opportunities businesses will have to showcase their services, network with other entrepreneurs, and gain resources and knowledge for raise their brand and business to a significantly higher level. of success.
“Even though we’re a small group, we all have different things we’re doing for the city of Cleveland,” said Courtney Dorsey, 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 the outreach of the community, and I think that’s great.”