Lehigh Valley LaunchBox Ladies event: 'Gearing up for your pitch'

Three people on a stage

A panel of three seasoned Lehigh Valley entrepreneurs — Jevata Crawford, left, of Project Move; Jonathan Epstein, center, president, JTJ Tech; and Rita Guthrie, right, owner, Idea Lady, Open Door Public Relations — shared tips and tactics behind their best business pitch. 

Credit: Mary Kate Maguire

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The art of crafting the perfect business pitch was the focus of the April LaunchBox Ladies Speaker Series at Penn State Lehigh Valley.

A panel of three seasoned Lehigh Valley entrepreneurs — Jevata Crawford of Project Move; Jonathan Epstein, president, JTJ Tech; and Rita Guthrie, owner, Idea Lady, Open Door Public Relations — shared their expertise about crafting a memorable business pitch with students, faculty and the local business community during a fun, energetic and educational event. Each panelist discussed the importance of business pitches for networking and creating connections, selling products and engaging potential funders.

Each panelist brought their unique perspectives to the conversation. Guthrie kicked off the discussion with the pitch she uses during networking events, stressing how her personality and smile engages potential clients. Epstein, whose product is the Salamander Reservoir, shared a pitch he has revised many times to sell his product. His inspirational and relevant comments shared how entrepreneurs need to start. 

“The first pitch they give will not be the best. They need to give their first pitch to learn what works and what does not. Each pitch after [that] will continue to get better and better,” he said. 

Crawford stressed many pitch competitors lose points due to not being prepared for the Q and A. Demonstrating confidence and a powerful personality, she brought a large presence to the event and reminded the entrepreneurs to show up during pitches. She asked each panelist for one word to remember during a pitch. They were summed up into “3 Ss”: Smile, start and show up.

Following the panelists’ presentations, the audience played a major role, asking questions and providing comments. 

“Gen Z is interested in the who and the why of businesses,” said Penn State Lehigh Valley student Hailey Castillio. Gen Z makes purchasing decisions based on their alignment with what they like about a company and what the company is presenting to the public. This generation tends to research a company online, including social media, so the panelists said it is important that businesses utilize digital media to share their ideas, values, products and/or services.  

Cindy Evans, director of business development, Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, reminded participants and the community that LaunchBox Ladies, as part of Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, will host its Second Annual Pitch competition on Wednesday, June 26, beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the Penn State Lehigh Valely Café. The competition encourages female entrepreneurs with a start-up business to pitch their product or services to a panel of judges and compete for a grand prize of $2,500.  Applications to pitch can be found at LBL Pitch application. Deadline to apply is May 10.  Additional information can be found on the Launchbox Ladies website.