CHANDLER, Ariz. - “I’m super excited but I kind of want to throw up,” Cheryl Marquez told us when we met her at Gangplank, a shared workspace on Arizona Avenue in Chandler.
For Marquez, this moment is make or break. She has four minutes to sell herself and her idea.
The event is called Extreme Pitch.
Gangplank’s Katie Charland explains that this is about taking the next, and some might say, brave -- step. “A lot of these people are wanting to walk away from day jobs and take that risk, start off on a new path.”
Next to the stage there’s a meter. It measures whether the idea "rocks" or “sucks”. The panel of judges and the crowd will determine which of these concepts is worth taking to the next level.
The people pitching have had 60 days to put their business plans together.
For Cheryl Marquez, a single mom, the business is second-hand clothing for kids – with a twist.
“Take your phone, snap a picture, describe it,” she says to the crowd, “and with one click upload it to the hand things down community and to Facebook.” Her site, handthingsdown.com and mobile app are currently in the test phase.
As time ticks, Cheryl talks. She’s determined to make her small business dreams come true, despite big worries about the economy.
When we ask her the following question, “Some might say, are you crazy starting a business right now?" She doesn’t flinch.
“I think for us we are used to failure and we go, 'Okay what is the lesson learned here and how can I apply it to my next project." She goes on to say as she looks around the crowd with a smile. “Nobody here is gonna give up.”
Being in the room with all of these optimists, it was clear. That’s the truth.
About Extreme Pitch
Per Katie Charland, "Extreme Pitch provides an outlet for companies to pitch their products, a rare opportunity in Arizona, and two, spark interest in these startups within the community. Gangplank and the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation invests a lot of time cultivating and supporting these brave individuals as they step out of their comfort zone, and in many cases full-time day jobs, in order to bring more opportunity through startups to the Valley. The goal of this program is to retain talent in Arizona and connect them with the resources they need through events like this to keep them growing and ultimately, employing more individuals in Arizona."
To see the winner of Extreme Pitch and to view everyone that participated in presenting their dream job ideas visit the Extreme Pitch blog.