BELFAST— Kids Unplugged, a local multi-use indoor play space for all ages, just made the cut in the first competitive pitching round of Greenlight Maine, a TV show that functions as a Maine business pitch and mentoring competition for $100,000.
“The day of the deadline to enter the contest, I literally whipped up our submission video and then a month later, we taped the show in mid-July,” said founder, Lee Parent.
On Sunday, December 2, the episode aired where Parent and her director of operations, Brittany Tarbox were up against Layla Kargar owner/publisher of Incomer Magazine to present their businesses in front of sponsor judge Tony Payne with MEMIC and panelists Kate Simmons with Portland Press Herald and Deb Newman with Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.
As expected, it was a nerve-wracking experience to not only do public speaking in front of strangers, but to also be on camera.
“We were totally freaked out,” said Parent. “As a theater person, I’ll go on the stage and sing and dance, no problem, but man, that was scary.”
“We basically practiced our pitches over and over,” she said. “Greenlight Maine keeps a very tight wrap on how they want you to present your business to them on the show, allowing you to come up with your own pitch. We had to figure out a way to give enough information, yet keep them intrigued. It is such a delicate mix, but when you get up there in front of the panel, it all kind of flies out the window. We got most of our pitch out, but there were some ad lib moments.”
For three minutes, Parent described how the business originated and where the business would head if granted the prize money.
“Ultimately this business, the scalability of it, is massive, and we want to launch our own line of kids’ products and be the go-to brand for parents who are searching for something that is unplugged, for toys, games and books,” Parent said on the show.
Her competitor, Karger, pitched the concept of Incomer Magazine, which derives its name from a British term for immigrant.
“Incomer Magazine isn’t just a print publication; it’s Incomer web and we also have Incomer National, which is 50 reasons coming out in October highlighting one profile from each state of immigrant pioneers, political influencers and community leaders,” she said on the show. “Incomer is going to unify the state and help it solve its problems.”
Parent, her entire staff, and family gathered at a friend’s house to watch the episode on Sunday.
“I watched myself talk on TV through spread fingers; it was like horror movie,” she said. “Something about watching yourself on TV is very uncomfortable.”
When the host announced that Kids Unplugged had advanced to the next round, “there were squeals and yelling,” she said.
As for getting to round two, Parent and Tarbox, will once again, prepare a new pitch to be in front of three new panelists.
“There are now 13 companies down from 26 what are competing,” she said. “And eventually, they will narrow it down to three.”
Parent said she feels just making it this far is a feather in their cap.
“Hopefully, this will put us in contact with more angel investors,” she said.
For more information visit greenlightmaine.com