After a weeks-long competition, the winners of CHYE's Business Plan Contest competed live with the winner chosen by the judges.
By Yedida Wolfe
The Jewish Children’s Museum was abuzz Wednesday evening as the six finalists at the Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs Business Plan Contest prepared to defend their startup ideas to a distinguished panel of six judges.
Master of Ceremonies, Mendel Duchman, CEO of Nonie of Beverly Hills who flew in especially for this event, enlivened the crowd with wit and wisdom, sharing the secret of his business achievements. “I went through Oholei Torah, year by year, step by step. When you are proud to stand out in business as a frum person, you are successful.”
CHYE Director, Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, brought inspiration from the Rebbe’s letters, with an axiom that holds true in business and the rest of life. “If you’re not constantly looking to grow the business, it will stagnate. You can’t ever go into cruise control mode.”
“The evening was CHYE’s most sophisticated event to date, the culmination of the past 5 years,” Werde said. New York City Councilman of the 40th District, Matthew Eugene, applauded CHYE and the audience for their support.
The prestigious and accomplished judges, Adam Eilenberg, Esq.,Jack Silberstein, CEO of Jack’s Gourmet, Zalman Stock of Spotlight Design, and Saul Friedman, founder of Saul N. Friedman & Co., asked candidates to explain their contingency plans, to detail their weak points, and clarify their business dreams.
And finally, the winners:
Malka Goldfein, of Babyroo, an online consignment store for gently used baby goods, is the Grand Prize Winner of CHYE’s Business Plan Contest. Along with a $7,500 cash prize, Babyroo will receive $12,500 in business services, which includes 1 year of free accounting from prestigious firm Saul N. Friedman & Co., and marketing and branding consulting with Spotlight Design and Ajax Union.
“The services are going to be really helpful in establishing our new business. Saul Friedman came up to me after the event to talk about the one year of accounting he is offering, and the legal and marketing services are also invaluable to getting our business off the ground. The cash prize will cover half of the money needed to develop our website and mobile app,” said Goldfein. “The contest validated our idea, which was so encouraging.”
First Runner Up Yetta and David Feldman of X:IT Performance wear, a designer and manufacturer of quality activewear for the modest, athletic women will receive $1250 in cash and $7500 in business services.
“With this prize in our pocket we have all we need to get the business on its feet. We thank again, CHYE and the sponsors, for putting together this clearly needed competition,” said Yetta Feldman. “Winning this prize is just the beginning of our hustle.”
Second Runner Up Nicole Marsella of Best Costume Outdoor Wear, a manufacturer of tznius swim dresses and modest water-friendly outdoor wear, will also take home $1250 and $7,500 in consulting.
"CHYE has been a big boost for my tiny start-up, not just though this competition, but with the classes and consultations that they offer,” said Nicole. “The winners were all smart, strong Jewish women. I'm proud to belong to a community that supports women business owners in such a significant way,” said Marsella.
While many in the audience came to support family and friends, everyone walked away informed and inspired.
“I came to the event because I wanted to learn about new business and innovations, and get new inspiration for my clients,” said Yonit Tanenbaum, of YQ Media. “It was inspiring to me as a business owner that all three winners were women.”
“It was pretty cool to see so many original ideas,” said Sarah Brummel, who was there for moral support for one of the finalists.
Moshe Horowitz, Firm Administrator at Saul Friedman & Co. added, “I came because Saul Friedman was presenting, and I gained a lot insight about what people go through to get a business started. It was inspiring.”
“CHYE extends tremendous thanks to our generous sponsors for making this event possible: Saul N. Friedman & Co., Adam Eilenberg, The Smetana Family and AWS Supply, Daniel Cotlar in memory of his son, Mendel, to COLLIVE for being our media sponsor, to Spotlight design, Ajaxunion and Aaron Fehler of Evokia for their prize sponsorships, to Mendel Duchman who elevated the evening with his experience and passion and to all members of the CHYE founders circle” said Rabbi Werde.
For more information about this and other CHYE initiatives, visit www.chye.info