Hundreds of friends-turned-business partners entered the Miller Lite Tap the Future business plan competition, but only 25 semifinalists will pitch for a chance to win a portion of the $400,000 prize pool. Five of the semifinalists from Illinois and the surrounding states pitched their business idea in front of a live audience at Park West on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Ohio-based TextPride came out on top to win the $20K prize and will advance to the finals where they will compete to win $250K.
The semifinalists will compete locally for a $20,000 prize and the chance to advance to the national finals. They also received advice from some of the sharpest business minds in the country, including Daymond John, also known as “The Shark” from ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
John, an entrepreneur, business mogul and Shark Tank Investor served as a lead judge at the event.
“Business is my passion and I enjoy interacting with up-and-coming entrepreneurs,” he said. "Miller Lite Tap the Future is a platform for entrepreneurs to learn from some of the tried and true business tips I’ve acquired over the years that will hopefully help participants reach the next level of success. I look forward to hearing their pitches.”
Sitting alongside “The Shark” on the judging panel included Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein, friends-turned-business partners and co-owners of Bucketfeet, the Chicago-based shoe company that finds different artists around the globe to design every shoe; and Barry Moltz, a business owner, consultant, author and contributing writer for American Express Open Forum.
Kenny Burns, lifestyle specialist and founder of the popular website studio43.com, hosted the event.
Miller Lite will host four additional live pitch events in Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia and Phoenix. The winners from each market will present before a national panel of judges in December and one team will win the grand prize of $250,000. Follow them on Twitter @MillerLite for details.