Jessica Gore had just recently been certified when she decided to apply for the WBENCPitch competition at this year’s Summit and Salute. And despite it being her first National WBENC event, she beat out almost 80 other WBEs, and was chosen as the runner up in the final round. As the founder and president of Tasty Clean, an all-natural, edible cleaning spray made from apple cider vinegar, she was excited for the chance to share her product with a new audience.
“I just jumped in and applied for it after getting certified,” said Gore. “I’ve always been willing to put myself in to a competition anytime, anywhere. Pitch competitions are good practice and a chance to talk about my product, and I’ll take any opportunity for that”.
Prior to Summit and Salute, she says she had never been on a stage, or in front of a large crowd before. She was surprised by the amount of encouragement and positive energy from the audience and other WBEs.
“I signed up for WBENCPitch because I welcome any opportunity to educate people about my product, and to get past the fear of speaking in front of a crowd. Then I realized how much of the audience was there to support me and wanted to see me succeed, and found I really enjoyed the experience. It actually led me to realize that I like public speaking!”
As a prize for placing second in the competition, she received an entry to 2020 Summit and Salute conference, as well as a scholarship from General Motors for a Tuck Executive Education program.
“I had been talking about business courses for a long time, so the opportunity to be able to do so in a condensed version is invaluable. I’m excited to perfect my business plan, and meet other entrepreneurs that can identify what I’m going through and bounce ideas off of.”
In addition, she says participating in the program helped strengthen contacts she had previously been working with, which will be essential as she looks to scale her company.
“We have taken a few years for R&D and to find the right voice, and are now ready to roll out a full launch. We will be doing trials in big box retailers, so the focus will be on driving traffic to those and getting the word out about Tasty Clean”.
Jessica strongly encourages any WBEs considering certification or participating in the WBENC Pitch at the upcoming National Conference and Business Fair to take advantage of the opportunity
“You are only going to get out of certification what you put in to it. Go to events, network, get out of your comfort zone, and talk to people. I was terrified, but now I’ve conquered that fear and look forward to doing it again.”