Rio Student Entrepreneur Wins 4th Annual Big Pitch Competition
Congratulations to Rio Salado College student Lennon Jackson who took home top honors in the 2021 Big Pitch Competition sponsored by the Maricopa County Community College District’s Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation.
The Big Pitch is a district-wide competition open to student entrepreneurs wishing to start a business or get support for their newly started business.
“Winning the competition gave me the validation I needed to be confident in my business plan,” Jackson said. “I’m excited to get a jumpstart with the help of people who know what they’re doing and are here to support me.”
Jackson, who is working to complete her associates in business degree this fall, is the founder of The Coffee Lady, a mobile coffee service that brings high-quality beverages to third shift workers who need a caffeine boost on their breaks.
Nine students made it to the final round of the 2021 Big Pitch competition. They spent their Spring Break week in March attending an intense business incubator to prepare for the final pitch on March 24, 2021.
Due to the pandemic, the final event was held virtually. Students presented their business plans to a panel of judges.
“Our judges saw that Lennon clearly identified a specific problem and offered a reasonable proposition to solve this for her customers,” said Tom Schumann, CEI Executive Director. “Because she is starting with this clear focus, we have a strong foundation to help Lennon over the coming year to build out this solution.”
Jackson came up with the idea for The Coffee Lady after losing employment in the coffee service industry during the pandemic. She took an overnight job at a call center and found that vending machines were depleted during her shift.
Her other option, convenience store coffee, was equally disappointing. Recognizing that third shift workers often adhere to strict break schedules, the idea of The Coffee Lady was born.
As the Big Pitch grand prize winner, Jackson received $20,000 in cash and services to launch her business. She plans on completing her associate degree in business this fall.
A video recording of the Big Pitch Competition final event can be viewed here.