SHOALS, Ala. – The Shoals Idea Audition, an event sponsored by the University of North Alabama, Bank Independent, and the Shoals Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled for Tuesday, October 10 at 4:00 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the Guillot University Center on the University of North Alabama campus.
This annual event is free and open to the public. It is designed to foster new businesses, help entrepreneurs polish their presentations, and introduce community leaders who might be instrumental in helping make their ideas a reality. For the fourth year in a row, hopeful participants will have an opportunity to present their business ideas to a panel of area professionals, and the top scoring idea will be awarded a $5,000 cash prize, with $2,500 and $1,000 to second and third-place winners, respectively.
“Registered participants have an opportunity to review their presentations with experts when they attend training sessions in advance of the contest,” said Mary Marshall VanSant, a founder of the event. “On October 10 they will then have three minutes to make their pitch. The panel of judges will be made up of local entrepreneurs who will select finalists for the final round where they will pitch in front of a different panel of judges and a larger audience to determine the winners.”
Last year, Harriette Rost won the contest with her idea of a patient bed-turner device named TomiTurn. Rost envisioned a device that makes turning bed-ridden patients easier and that is designed to prevent injury to the patient and caregiver.
“I was blown away by my competition and surprised that I won,” said Rost. Winning the competition allowed her to the ability to attend trade shows to promote TomiTurn and purchase more raw materials for its production. “Participation in trade shows can cost up to $3,000 but they are an essential part of marketing products like mine,” Rost added.
Tasia Malakasis, owner and president of Belle Chevre, an award-winning cheese producer located in Elkmont, Alabama, and author of the cookbook Tasia’s Table, will serve as this year’s key note speaker.