Three finalists pitched their business ideas to three judges at the Naperville Public Library’s NaperLaunch Pitch Competition.
Dapo Kolawole walked away with a $3,300 prize for his mobile app idea, Citispoon.
“It feels great to win this because it helps with the bottom line of what we’re trying to do which is to get out and get our product out there. So every bit of seed funding is always good for us,” said Kolawole.
Citispoon is a way to provide real-life restaurant wait times to help customers make a decision quickly.
The idea came about when Kolawole and his wife were finding it difficult to find a restaurant.
“We got to the first restaurant and the wait time was ridiculously high, and we got to the second restaurant and it was ridiculously crazy. And trying to get to the third restaurant battling traffic and just not talking because I was angry and she was hungry.” Said Kolawole. “I mean we’re hangry at that point. We just got to the last restaurant which got us seated right away. So we started thinking if we’re going through this, can we solve this problem?”
Judges considered factors like management and industry experience and industry competition to predict how successful the new business will be.
“Each one of the participants had different ideas and each one of them had different backgrounds and they were very passionate about what they had to offer,” said Barbara Piesz, one of the judges.
The two other finalists were Pankaj Parashar for his idea to improve home insurance customer retention and Theresa Puskar for school programs that combine stagecraft and life skills.
This is the second year for the competition, which aims to promote small business week in the community.
“It’s always great to be able to help people do whatever it is that they want to do. It’s especially great to be able to help new business start-ups in our community who can help boost the business development,” said Kent Palmer, business librarian at Naperville Public Library.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.