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Here are the winners from AMPLIFY Clearwater’s Pitch Night

David Krakow

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From left Dr. Emmanuel Hernandez-Agosto, judge; Lori Lenhart of Allori Blow Dry; April Caldwell, judge; CR World CEO Colette Florido; Lauren Davenport Fernandez, judge. Photo provided.

The first Pitch Night hosted by AMPLIFY Clearwater’s Tourism Innovation Business Incubator awarded a total of $30,000 to two companies. The Dec. 13 event was held at the Homeowner Education Center at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

First place winner CR World of St. Petersburg was awarded $20,000, while runner-up Allori Blow Dry Bar of Belleair Bluffs won a $10,000 investment from judges April Caldwell, co-founder and CEO of fayVen.com; Lauren Davenport Fernandez, founder and CEO of Allegrow; and Dr. Emmanuel Hernandez-Agosto, Dean of the College of Business at St. Petersburg College.

CR World, which operates out of a Florida Chefs Workshop building off Tyrone Blvd in St. Pete, sells hemp-infused, all-natural wellness products for humans and pets such as a hemp-infused coconut oil, a topical spray for pain and inflammation and Honey Help Sticks, made of raw wildflower honey and hemp extracts. They also sell CBD capsules and vape pens.

Allori advertises on its website services from “weekly hair maintenance, monthly membership or your daughter’s date night or girls’ night out.” The companies had to present their businesses and detail their experiences during a 10-week cohort bootcamp that started in October.

“I think we had touched on the most important points of the pitch night content,” said CR World CEO Colette Florido, discussing what helped win over the judges. Bootcamp, she said, “was 5-10 hours a week of deep diving into what we did when we first started the business (in 2017).

“We wanted to make sure we were staying true to the mission, make sure it was still applicable. It’s all pipe dreams at first.”

AMPLIFY Clearwater, represented by CEO and President Amanda Payne and Economic Impact Catalyst CEO and Founder David Ponraj, drafted the plans for the incubator in May during a ribbon-cutting event for EIC’s new office. In August, the Clearwater City Council unanimously approved $250,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to launch the incubator, which officials of the companies called the first of its kind in Florida. 

AMPLIFY Clearwater promotes the needs of tourism and tourism-related companies in North Pinellas County. EIC, a technology and research firm, and operates in around 100 communities nationwide providing economic development and other services for entrepreneurs.

The incubator is due to start another cohort bootcamp in April. Companies interested in applying for the April bootcamp can get information at www.amplifyclearwater.com/incubator. There will also be bootcamp classes for interested companies.

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