INDIANAPOLIS – On Wednesday evening, the Indy Chamber and Business Ownership Initiative’s virtually hosted the third annual ReEntry Entrepreneurship Development Initiative (REDi) hosted its third annual virtual pitch competition for ex-offenders in Central Indiana. REDi, funded by the SBA, addresses the likely connection between entrepreneurship and reducing the rate of recidivism by providing technical business training and education to incarcerated and formerly-incarcerated individuals.
Since REDi’s inception in 2017, the initiative has served over 500 participants through a variety of workshops that assist in the business planning process or by providing one-on-one coaching. REDi’s Pitch Night provides an opportunity for the larger community to join the Indy Chamber in supporting and celebrating three promising entrepreneurs who were selected to compete for $2,500 and a package of professional services.
This year’s pitch competition was hosted at Launch Indy with Mark Harsley serving as the event’s emcee. Harlsey won the competition in 2019 with his mobile and web app ‘KITeMail’.
The three 2020 finalists were:
Tichina Clark of Taste Buddies LLC
Founded in 2018, Taste Buddies provides healthy, home-style meals with fresh, grab and go options.
Daniel Higgs of 1 of a Find LLC
1 of a Find is an antique shop with a treasure trove of collectibles, rarities and one of a kind finds.
Tiara Peoples of Hari Hair Extensions LLC
Hari Hair Extensions is a beauty supply store that provides hair extension products.
Tichina Clark took home this year’s top prize consisting of $2,500 and a package of professional services from the event’s sponsors. Tichina’s won over the judges with Taste Buddies’ business model featuring a variety of grab-and-go soups, salads and desserts in mason jars.
“I have been really impressed with Tichina’s growth as an entrepreneur. Tichina has been working with the REDi program since June 2019, participating in the REDi five-week training course while incarcerated in the Indiana Women’s Prison. Since her release, we have continued working with Tichina on her business model through one-on-one coaching,” stated Neil Metzger, REDi Program Manager. “It’s exciting to see her receive this recognition from the community.”
In-kind sponsorship was generously provided by When You Leave the Room (public speaking training),Barnes & Thornburg LLP (Legal Consultation), The Mill (pitch competition entry), Fineline Printing Group (printed materials), Herd Strategies (marketing consultation), Be Nimble (website development), Kyle McGinnis Photo, (headshots), A Total Solutions, CPA & Consulting Services, Inc. (QuickBooks set-up and training Session), and Launch Indy (coworking membership).
Pictured, Tichina Clark of Taste Buddies LLC. Photo Credit: @Conradusa