The 4th Annual Will This Float? competition will take place on Thursday at Milligan College at 6 p.m. and will again showcase local entrepreneurs in a business pitch contest decided by audience votes.
At the event, entrepreneurs will have five minutes to “float” their ideas in front of a panel of three judges, who will critique the competitor’s delivery, concept and business fundamentals — however, the audience will choose the winner via text message voting.
The winner will receive $1,000 of seed funding, assistance from the local Small Business Development Center, and free space from Spark Plaza, a Johnson City-based co-working venue.
Dwight Whynot, the president and founder of Myologistics, won the competition in 2010 with his pitch for a medical evaluation device.
“The reason we entered is we wanted to get the device to market, and the competition would give me greater exposure to investors,” Whynot said.
This year, the device is in its development phase, Whynot said. He has completed the hardware for the device and is finishing the software.
“We are still moving forward. In these economic times, it’s a little slower than I would like,” he said. “We are still looking for a major investor, but we’re continuing as much as we can.”
Whynot said the 2010 Will This Float competition readied him for the real-life scenario of business pitches while also giving him feedback from experienced entrepreneurs.
“It gets you used to being up in front of people and talking about your products in a short amount of time,” he said. “You want to be able to give that 10-second ‘elevator speech’ anytime.”
There is no cost for submitting an application to Will This Float?, and entrepreneurs are encouraged to visit www.willthisfloat.com to submit their ideas.
If selected, presenters will have five minutes to make an “elevator pitch” presentation to solicit interest from other participants in having more detailed follow-up discussions. Presenters will be provided a tabletop space in the exhibition hall to meet other participants of the Will This Float? competition. Presenters selected will be promoted prior to the event, and their presentations will be recorded and made available online at willthisfloat.com.