A Shark Tank-style pitch competition for entrepreneurs in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia will return this spring following a COVID-mandated one-year hiatus. The former Pitches and Pints competition is moving to Cardinal Park in Johnson City. Entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas from the pitcher’s mound at the park to a group of judges stationed at home plate during the rebranded Pitchers and Pitches competition May 6.
David Nelson, co-founder of FoundersForge, which promoted the event from 2016-2019, says the outdoor venue and abundance of available seating should allow for the event to be held even if tight COVID protocols are in effect. Traditionally six to eight entrepreneurs compete in the event, though the large amount of available space will make it possible for other local small entrepreneurs to promote their own small businesses as well.
“We have an application process during which our board of directors and the sponsors of the event can have a say in who (is chosen to compete),” Nelson said. “We tend to look for earlier-stage companies, so somebody who’s already raised $2 million is kind of in a different ballpark.”