Over 130 people gathered at The MINT – Rutland’s Makerspace for the Rutland stop of the annual Road Pitch on August 1.
Five Rutland-area businesses pitched their ideas during the event as part of the FreshTracks Capital Road Pitch, a multi-day motorcycle tour that brings riders with investing and business advisory experience to towns around Vermont to hear from local entrepreneurs. People’s United Bank was the lead sponsor for the event. Other sponsors included Ann Clark Cookie Cutters, Ryan Smith & Carbine, NBT Bank, Atomic Audio, Rutland City Public Schools, and Rutland Economic Development Corporation.
Organizers at The MINT worked with a variety of area entrepreneurs to identify the final five presenters. Debutant Web Design pitched their website design company, which is focused on empowering micro-businesses to develop and maintain their online identity. Calypso Consulting presented their start-up which uses music to build teams and create enriching interactive social experiences. Local Captures pitched their photo tour business that connects travelers to experiences curated by local photographers. X_University gave a presentation on a platform designed to change the way higher education is accessed. And C Major Improvement pitched an online music education interface that centers around a community of established and aspiring musicians.
To prepare for the event, Rutland Road Pitch organizers worked to connect this year’s pitchers with resources from area businesses and development organizations, as well as the expertise from members of The MINT. Representatives from Rutland Economic Development Corporation, the Small Business Development Center, and the Center for Women & Enterprise were on hand to offer guidance and encouragement throughout the preparation process.
“It is exciting to see the pitch teams leverage the shared resources at The MINT,” said Tyler Richardson, Executive Director of Rutland Economic Development Corporation. “Emerging businesses drawing on the expertise of their peers while connecting to the resources offered in the community is a living example of the broad entrepreneurial support network we have here in the Rutland region.”
Local Captures was chosen as the winner of the event and will present at the final statewide “Pitch-Off” held at Champlain College this fall. X_University won the People’s Choice Award sponsored by People’s United Bank.
“We congratulate both winners and look forward to seeing Local Captures pitch at the statewide event this fall,” said Karen McCalla, volunteer at The MINT and lead organizer of this year’s Rutland Road Pitch. “But we want to celebrate all the businesses who presented today because they all did a fabulous job. We were excited to be able to show off the community of innovators we have at The MINT.”
The event was capped off by a presentation by the Robo-Rattlers, a team of local students ages 9 to 14, who surprised the judges at last year’s Road Pitch by presenting the Breeze N’ Leave, a pet safety device. This year, they presented the H2Show, which they described as “like a Fitbit for faucets” which helps families monitor water usage and suggests methods of conservation.
In addition to the Road Pitch, organizers at The MINT are busy planning the one-year anniversary of their grand opening. The celebration – called The MINTacular! – is an afternoon of free tours, demonstrations, and hands-on making using the tools and equipment available in the space. The MINTacular! event is being held on Saturday, August 4th, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
“We’ve accomplished so much in our first year, but we’re really just getting started,” McCalla said. “As we enter our second year, we’re working really hard to get the word out about The MINT and this incredible asset we’re lucky enough to have in our region. There’s something for everyone at The MINT, and events like The MINTacular! and the Road Pitch are a wonderful way to introduce people to the makerspace who may never have visited us before.”
About The MINT – Rutland’s Makerspace
The MINT – Rutland’s Makerspace is a shared workshop and classroom for anyone interested in making things. More than just a shared space with all the tools you don’t have space for or couldn’t afford on your own, The MINT is a community of people sharing their knowledge, experience, and ideas in addition to tools, equipment, and workshop space. Members include hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts, educators, students, entrepreneurs, non-profit, and for-profit companies. The MINT is located at 112 Quality Lane in Rutland. For more information on The MINT, go to www.rutlandmint.org.