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HarborOne Rhode Island Small Business Pitch Contest

The HarborOne Small Business Pitch Contest continues to recognize the important contributions of small business owners and entrepreneurs in the community. 8 contestants showcase a pitch of their business competing for the grand prize of $10,000.

HarborOne Pitch Contest

Stephen Gibbons – Regional VP – HarborOne Bank (00:02) Tonight is the first night for HarborOne bank in Rhode Island to present the pitch contest to the Rhode Island contestants. We’ve dealt with so many Rhode Island businesses as well as Massachusetts, we have an opportunity in our Providence branch tonight,  eight contestants, and they’ll have an opportunity to showcase their future business. And we will reward them with a $10,000 payment to give them a kickstart in their new business. As a community lender judging criteria for this contest, it’s how they present, how well thought they are, what their new future plan is, and I’m very excited to see some of these young entrepreneurs get started.

Claudia Cardoza – Community Development Manager – HarborOne Bank  (00:39) I love working with small businesses because they’re so resourceful, you know, they see a different future. They’re full of dreams. They’re hard workers, and they make our community better. So when we’re helping small businesses, we’re helping the community, we’re being part of something bigger than ourselves, and it’s amazing to see them grow and be part of our family here at HarborOne Bank.

Kemi Asani – Afrobeat Fit – Contestant (01:06) My name is Kemi Asani, and I’m the founder of Afrobeat Fit and I’m a contestant with the HarborOne pitch contest. Being a small business owner in New England, I always say that each day is an opportunity to build the plane while flying it. So every day I get stronger. Every day, I may face another challenge, but it’s just another opportunity to innovate and to pivot. I’m honestly grateful that I’m here. I’m appreciative that I was selected, it was my time to kind of put my fears aside and just pitch so regardless which way the cookie crumbles with today and the pitch competition, I do know that there are financial resources and educational resources for me on the HarborOne website that I can utilize to help my business go forward.

Winners of the HarborOne Pitch Contest

CC (01:52) Our approach to small businesses unique because we appreciate the contributions of small businesses, we meet them where they are, we created programs that marry education with access to capital. So we are the bank that really helped you know, small businesses to grow from the beginning as just having an idea to start a business.

Maureen Wilkinson – VP Community Education – HarborOne Bank – (02:19) We’ve made it so difficult that we’ve actually come up with a little bit different of outcome than we expected. We still have a grand prize winner, but I’m glad to say we also have three second place winners who are each going to receive $2500 for their business. The first or second place is Papi’s Coquito.

Victor Regino – Papi’s Coquito – Contestant (02:51) It feels great. We were not expecting there to be this many winners. So just having that chance to like put our product out there and to like tell our story still come out the end of winner, that’s a win in my book.

MW (03:04) Second,  second place is 13 Stars Hot Sauce.

Sean Maloney – 13 Stars Hot Sauce – Contestant (03:09) I feel great,  I mean it shows a lot of your hard work of myself, my business partner working for me so it kind of paying off and showing that there is support for what we’re doing our mission.

MW (03:21) And our third second place is Afrobeat Fit,  and so without any further ado, our grand prize winner of $10,000 is Rhody Wild Sea Gardens

Azure Sigler – Rhody Wild Sea Gardens – Contestant (03:45) My name is Azure Sigler, I’m the founder of Rhody Wild Sea Gardens. I’m a kelp farmer in Rhode Island. I will use the money to put kelp farming my kelp farm on the carbon offset marketplace, which is a place where individuals and businesses can voluntarily purchase carbon offsets from people like myself who are doing good for the environment. I am just so grateful for HarborOne’s attention for the opportunity to be able to present my not only my business but my vision for the future. And I’m so grateful for these funds and I look forward to partnering with HarborOne over the long term of my business.

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