"Business bikers" come to Bennington, reward entrepreneurs

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BENNINGTON — One local business is in the running for a $5000 prize for a making an exceptional business pitch.

Bennington-based Paca Performance Gear offers eco-friendly, sustainable outdoor gear using alpaca wool. The business was born out of a course at Southern Vermont College led by Jeb Gorham, associate professor and director of the Sustainable Ventures program. The team came in second at St. Louis University's "'Real' Elevator Pitch" last year.

Regional entrepreneurs, including Paca, will have a chance to pitch their business ideas to 50 "business bikers" in the fifth annual FreshTracks Road Pitch competition Tuesday, July 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Oldcastle Theatre. These bikers consist of Vermont-based investors, entrepreneurs, and business members who travel by motorcycle across the state to hear local entrepreneurs pitch their ideas.

Participants

The five businesses have already been chosen after competing in practice rounds and elimination rounds last month. These businesses are: Inky's Bookshelf, Kirsh Helmets, CampusProApp.com, Paca Performance Gear, and Fabber.

Fabber, which originates from the Berkshires, is a digital fabrication platform to make 3D printing easier and faster.

Inky's is a New York-based book subscription service tailored to each reader's preferences.

Kirsh Helmets, of Schenectady, manufactures and produces motorcycle helmets.

CampusProApp.com, based in Syracuse, is an app that provides student business owners tools for success.

The competition

Five business pitches will be showcased the evening of the 31st and the winner will receive $500. Along with the monetary prize, the winner is also invited to pitch at the final statewide competition Oct. 17. The winner at this competition will walk away with $5,000 and a year's worth of valuable mentorship from the business bikers.

RoadPitch was founded in 2014 and quickly became one of Vermont's biggest entrepreneurial competitions. The riders offer advice, useful connections, and investment opportunities to promising start-ups. The competition is hosted by the Lightning Jar, which is a downtown "business incubator and coworking space" according to a press release.

Overall, the goal of RoadPitch is to showcase Vermont businesses and connect entrepreneurs to resources.

"Bennington has a reputation for strong pitches," said Lightning Jar Director Michelle Marrocco. "Last year we had two of the highest scoring pitches across the state, one of which went on to win the statewide competition."

Christie Wisniewski can be reached at cwisniewski@benningtonbanner.com and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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