ASHLAND A local business recently won the $15,000 grand prize in Invest 606’s 2021 Pitch Competition.
Kyle Robinson, owner of Print My Threads, said his Greenup County store was accepted into the program, which granted him access to six months of training, mentorship and site visits to other participating businesses.
“At the end of the accelerator program, businesses give an eight-minute pitch to a panel of judges highlighting their business success, the problem they solved and their economic impact on the region,” Robinson said.
Being able to show the judges the continuing economic impact the business would have on the area was what won the day, Robinson said.
“During the pitch, we shared several concrete examples of how we add value for several of our ‘A’ clients,” he said. “Being able to demonstrate the problems we solve and how it’s led to our ability to pay our employees a living wage, operate sustainably from our solar-powered production facility and give back to the community through various fundraising projects is ultimately what led to the big win.”
One example of how Print My Threads has accomplished that is its work with King’s Daughters Medical Center, he said.
“When KDMC hired on employees when Bellefonte closed, they needed branded apparel for them to wear to work and they needed a new way to distribute orders, so we invested in a folding machine and automated that and took care of the folding, bagging and shipping to they could focus on getting the vaccine out,” Robinson said, noting distribution had to change because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. “We’re able to work with clients on a deeper level. Most have a larger issue than printed apparel, and we’ve been able to help them figure that out with time and resources.”
Robinson said he was confident Print My Threads would do well in the competition.
“I was a competitive distance runner growing up and pitching your business is a lot like preparing for ‘a big race,’” he said. “Believing you can win is key, but you also have to put in the miles leading up to race day. When I showed up to the competition I kept envisioning ‘Print My Threads’ written out on the $15K check. I was super nervous, but I’d spent countless hours working on, refining and rehearsing my pitch, so I knew I was ready to go when it was time to present.”
The prize money, Robinson said, will go into building the custom-order management system.
“Last year, we integrated this with the first version of our client portal that allows our customers to manage all aspects of their apparel orders online,” he said. “We plan to use the money to fund the development of Version 2 that will add new features, increase efficiency and save both us and our customers more time and money.”
The second-place winner, Community Treatment and Tracking Solutions in Whitley County, received $7,500. The tech company uses a smartphone app to achieve 100% employment and sobriety for its graduates.
The third-place winner, Velvet Whiskey Candle Co. in Laurel Count, received $3,500. The company produces hand-crafted soy candles poured in small batches and ships all over the country.
Turtle Farm Pottery in Wolfe County received $2,500 for Community Development Impact.
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