The creator of a southern-themed restaurant took top honors in Thursday’s Pitch Black competition hosted by Launch Terre Haute. Tawana Hemphill was awarded a $2,000 cash prize, in addition to a variety of services to help her get Kiss of the South up and running. LT Thompson, Black Business Alliance coordinator for the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, says the event saw a great turnout as the city looks to shine a spotlight on Black entrepreneurs.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Thompson said having a chance to change the lack of awareness about the Black business community.
“Sometimes that comes from just not knowing in our Black community of the business resources available,” said Thompson. “So it was extremely important that we took the opportunity to shine a light on Black entrepreneurs and provide a platform for them to meet with the business advisor, hone their pitch, and put together a competition where they can go before a judge panel and have an opportunity to win some pretty cool prizes to help support and launch and help their business be successful.”
In addition to the cash prize, Hemphill will also receive $1,000 in promotional materials from Terre Haute-based Tabco, logo and website design services, a consultation with Kemper CPA Group LLP and a one-hour coaching session from talent development firm Global Perspective Culture Co.
Hemphill says she is now looking for a space from which to launch Kiss of the South. She says she hopes to open soon and employ 5-10 people to serve the community.
“They can expect home cooking, food cooked with love, great hospitality and be welcomed with a smile,” she said.
A total of 13 entrepreneurs applied to be part of the competition with six ultimately completing the requirements to pitch at Thursday’s event. Thompson says the success of Pitch Black will hopefully lead to more events in the future.
“I think this event just gives an example for possible other entrepreneurs that maybe they’re have been sitting on their business or an idea and it gives them the motivation or inspiration to say, hey, look at Tawana Hemphill. She won the pitch competition and maybe that gives me opportunity to reach out to the West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center and schedule an appointment with the advisor and see where if their dreams can come true if they have an opportunity to to launch their own business.”