NORTH ADAMS — A group of Williams College students were the big winners Wednesday, finishing first in both the fan and judges' polls at Entrepreneurship For All's first pitch contest in Northern Berkshire.
Their business, Lifestacks Supplements, received the $1,000 first place prize in voting by a panel of seven judges, then picked up an additional $500 for being chosen as the fan favorite by those in the capacity crowd of 150 who attended the event at The Green. Lifestacks Supplements has formulated a series of functional, healthy coffee mix-ins.
Aaron Johnson, of Monterey, received the $750 second prize for his new production company, Boxxa Vine Productions, which promotes and supports the art of drag. Third place went to Ava Neathawk, 10, of North Adams, for her business idea, "Gluten Free Giraffe," which aims to create cutting boards for kitchens that segregate the preparation of gluten-free food from those with allergic and celiac conditions. Before the contest began, the audience chose Neathawk to pitch her idea as the "table favorite."
Fourteen startup businesses participated in Wednesday night's contest. They each made 2 1/2 minute "pitches" to the panel of judges who then voted to select the first, second and third place winners.
Entrepreneurship for All, also known as EforAll, is a nonprofit organization that partners with communities nationwide to help under-resourced individuals successfully start and grow businesses through extensive business training, mentorship and an extended professional support network.
EforAll began operations in Berkshire County last year and held its first pitch contest in Pittsfield in October. The program currently operates in seven Massachusetts communities and has an eighth program in Longmont, Colo. The Berkshire program is funded by several county entities.
The name of the supplement company is Lifestacks Supplements, and a principal in the company is named Zack Schreier. An earlier version of this story was incorrect.