The Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) has helped our area tremendously when it comes to business resources and helping the community grow economically. The Bayou Pitch Competition is just one example of how the organization reaches out to help small business owners.
The program was sponsored by Chevron, Lafourche Parish, and Nicholls State University. The competition allowed LSBDC to give away cash prizes to local innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare. The competition took place on November 16 and handed out $20,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third place. In order to qualify, participants had to either be a student at Nicholls or Fletcher Technical Community College or non-students had to be registered businesses in Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. Mary, and Assumption Parishes.
The competition took place in two rounds and awarded six local companies for a combined $43,500. The first round was for companies not yet in operation and the second was for operating businesses. For the startup round, first place winner was Dane Granier with Bourbon Watches ($5,000), second place was Kevin Ramsey with Ramsey Funeral Home ($2,500), and third place was Matt Schultheis with Revier Technologies ($1,000).
The second round included first place winner Sarah Dickerson with Sarah Dickerson Portraits, who won the $20,000 grand prize. Second place was Steve Folmer with Mobil 1 Lube ($10,000), and third place was Victoria Giglio of Indigo Boutique ($5,000).
Events like this are part of Chevron’s commitment to giving back to the communities where their employees live and work. The company has supported this competition since it started in 2019 and through this event has helped support 20 Bayou Region businesses.
First place winner, Sarah Dickerson, has hit some bumps in the road. Hurricane Ida caused severe damage in her Downtown Houma studio, and has been rough since. Dickerson said “The competition was more than just money. It was the moment to prove both myself and my business to not only the judges, but also, to me. It granted me access to influential people and helped me become even more versed in all matters of the business. The growth this has provided has already been felt within my company and the positive impacts will continue to be felt by myself and clients. I feel incredibly blessed and thankful for this opportunity. This isn’t a time to relax but to double down on the hard work and dedication that had gotten me to this point.”