Nope, not that Pitch Perfect. And our pitch was DEFINITELY not perfect, But it was a perfect way for THE JILLS to kick off our start-up adventure...
Before we had a name, before we had a clear business model, before we had a logo, or a website, or a customer, we had an idea that we believed really mattered - women entrepreneurs needed to be lifted and linked to create a powerhouse workforce for the future.
We'd spent a summer out 'talking' to people; solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, business leaders and business owners to help us shape and validate some of our thinking. And in all of our chatting on phones and meeting in coffee shops, we learned about an opportunity - The Doyenne Group's 5X5X5 event - a pitch contest for women at the annual Madison ForwardFest. The Doyenne Group offered pre-pitch training to 5 women entrepreneurs and a chance to win a $5000 grant based on a 5 minute pitch at a breakfast event.
We scrambled to get our application in on a tight deadline, and did cartwheels (well... metaphoric cartwheels, we're too old for any of that carry-on) when we learned we were one of the five finalists. Our adventure had begun, and we bravely stepped in, created our first pitch, stood in front of a crowd and gave our first public presentation of THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES™.
And no, we didn't win the money. But we did win.
We learned invaluable information about giving a pitch. We meet incredible women entrepreneurs who were further along than us, who shared their stories, offered us encouragement, and gave us the gift of feedback. We got mentioned in local media. We were welcomed by a community of supporters and champions of women's entrepreneurship. And we met JILLS. Lots of them.
We learned that 5 minutes is a really short amount of time, but it's enough to put yourself out there and start to build the relationships you need to power a workforce revolution.