Women entrepreneurs compete in virtual pitch night

Aviatra Accelerators, Inc., an accelerator devoted to working with women-owned startups and small businesses, hosted its first-ever virtual pitch competition, called “Flight Night,” in late October.

The event is a pitch competition for women entrepreneurs who have completed Aviatra’s nine-week entrepreneurship program.

Celeste Maksim, who created a software platform that streamlines the medical device regulatory process, as well as having applications in other industries, won the top prize of $5,000.

Maksim says the software automates content mapping and updates in the manufacturing process chain. It streamlines data from supply chain through manufacturing to regulatory review at government agencies, and then to improving post-market reporting.

First runners up were Bailey Bryant, HealthMatch360; and Margo Moksin for her business, SoMi, and her product MOX, a portable container that heats food wirelessly. They each won $1,000. Heather Couch, Couch Family Fixin's; Keri Kilroy, Donna’s Gourmet Cookies; and Megan McClendon, One Sweet Box, were awarded $500 in prize money.

More than 500 viewers watched the event and voted on their “Fan Favorite” throughout. Bailey Bryant of HealthMatch360 was voted the Fan Favorite. In the past, the Flight Night pitch competition has been open to the public and hosted in person, attracting more than 250 attendees.

“We were determined that these newest Aviatras would have the best possible experience to launch their businesses and be presented to the community in a professional and impactful way,” says Nancy Aichholz, president and CEO of Aviatra Accelerators. “After ten years and 2,500 women served, we certainly have learned to adjust to the current climate to assure ongoing success for female founders.”

The event also raised more than $1,500 in scholarship money to support women entrepreneurs.

The nine-week class, from July through September, was socially distanced, thanks to Fedders Construction in Newport, which donated “a space large enough for a marching band,” Aichholz says.

Covington-based Aviatra Accelerators provides education and expertise in business basics and best practices, advice and guidance from mentors, coaches, and alumnae, and introductions to low-interest loans and other capital investment. In addition to its Covington location, the non-profit organization also operates offices in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio.



Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.
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