If you're a natural products entrepreneur, there's a good chance you're familiar with the Naturally Boulder Pitch Slam. The event has the reputation of taking small, fledging companies and catapulting them into the national arena. Phil Anson, founder of Evol Burritos, took home $1,000 and one-on-one consults with Steve Demos (founder of Silk) and Mark Retzloff (founder of Alfalfa's market) when he won the first Slam in 2007. Anson credits the experience with helping him build his brand to what it is today—a nationally recognized line of gourmet burritos, frozen flatbreads and burrito bowls.
Fast forward four years, and the event's recognition and available winnings have both grown considerably. This year, more than 20 natural products entrepreneurs competed for $26,000 in cash and prizes including web design services, legal consulting and a public relations campaign led by the innovative team at the Fresh Ideas Group. For a shot, entrepreneurs have 60 seconds or less to pitch their product ideas to a panel of scrutinizing industry experts. Judges narrow contestants to the top three who are then invited to pitch their ideas again—this time to a theater of natural products industry veterans and fellow entrepreneurs.
Product pitches ranged from carob chocolate confections to natural skin care products and organic granola. I was among the audience members hedging bets on who would pull ahead, and have to say, was completely surprised by this year's winner. Who did the judges ultimately select? Check out the video below for a behind-the-scenes recap.