Winners of Shark Tank Inspired Competition Announced

| November 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging a caring community to help transition age foster youth achieve self-sufficiency and well-being, has announced the four winners of its Third Annual JIT Shark Tank Competition. This entrepreneurial competition is part of the organization’s Pathways to Financial Power service, which provides career exploration resources, smart money management tips, and ongoing support for transition-age foster youth to succeed personally and professionally.  

Initially, 11 hopeful entrepreneurs, all transition-age foster youth, submitted business proposals. The top four applicants were determined through a blind review process by Jon Strauss, Financial Advisor at Christopher Weil & Company, Inc., and his team. These four semi-finalists then received professional coaching from local professionals to help refine and develop their ideas into actionable business plans and build their strategy and pitches. During a Facebook Live broadcast on JIT’s page, the semi-finalists faced off in a virtual JIT Shark Tank competition for the community to enjoy. The competition can be viewed here:  

Winners were determined in a two-tiered process, each worth 50 percent of the competitor’s final score. First, each business plan was evaluated blindly by a review committee consisting of professionals who specialize in start-up businesses. Then, their pitches were reviewed by a judge panel of local San Diego professionals including: Jay Lichter, managing director at Avalon Ventures and president & CEO of COI Pharmaceuticals; Allen Maxwell, president & CEO of Omni2Max, Inc.; and Margo Turner, CEO of Powerminds.  

Winners were announced following a Passion Exploration Fair where seven professionals from around San Diego shared their career journeys and how passion, talent or opportunity helped them find their “success sweet spot.”  

First place was awarded to Victoria Willis, who was coached by Marty Goodman, president of Henderson Properties, Inc. Her idea, “Brunches of Bunches,” is an educational and inspiring professional podcast with a casual brunch approach where popular entrepreneurs from all walks of life can share their successes, shortcomings and advice with those in pursuit of entrepreneurship. She received a prize of a $3,000 investment toward her idea.  

Second place was awarded to Brandy Harvey, who was coached by Sam Webster, managing director at Community First Strategies, LLC. Her idea, “Tails & Scales,” is a pet care company that specializes in animals from the common to the exotic, offering services for owners whose pets are overlooked by traditional pet care providers. She received a prize of a $1,000 investment toward her idea.  

Third place was awarded to Emilio Carranza-Davis, who was coached by Brad Lupien, president and CEO of arc.

Fourth place was awarded to Andy Potgieter, who was coached by Neil Senturia, CEO of Blackbird Ventures, and Bob Freund, retired principal at Synergration Solutions.

“Participating in the JIT Shark Tank competition was a wonderful experience! It was the best thing that happened to me all year, and to think that I was not even going to apply because I was afraid my business wasn’t “good enough” to showcase,” shared 2020 JIT Shark Tank’s grand prize winner, Victoria Willis.

Sponsors for this year’s JIT Shark Tank include Alta Company, LLC & the Grant Family; Sue & Jay Lichter; Ron & Sandy Livingston; Charlie Joyce & Otis Eastern Service, LLC; the Swette Family; Walter and Lola Green Donor Advised Fund at Rancho Santa Fe Foundation; Gifts of the Magi Foundation Fund at Rancho Santa Fe Foundation; Kathryn Starr; Louarn & Alan Sorkin; Lily Lai Foundation, Ellen Filteau & NETFLIX; and The Lawrence and Robin Rusinko Charitable Fund of the Ayco Charitable Foundation.  

Victoria Willis won first place for “Brunches of Bunches.”

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