Posted on 08/10/17 by Guest Author
For many entrepreneurs in Arlington and around the country, the “big dream” is getting an idea or product to a national audience. Dozens of entrepreneurs locally and from around the region had that very chance recently thanks to a series of open auditions for the Home Shopping Network’s American Dream Project, which was hosted by Arlington’s BizLaunch and co-presented by the SCORE Network, which also works with the BizLaunch team.
Last year, SCORE first approached BizLaunch with the opportunity for Arlington to partner with Home Shopping Network’s American Dream Program, which finds hopeful entrepreneurs with products to promote from around the country and lets them compete for the chance to feature their products on HSN to a national audience. Approximately 350 entrepreneurs initially took part in an initial training opportunity last year, after which 125 passed the first round to a day-long training in February. From there, 68 entrepreneurs were assigned mentors for a four month period to work on their pitches which would be presented to HSN Executives as an audition for the American Dream program (in front of 96 million viewers). Talk about an opportunity of a lifetime!
That brought us to this exciting round of pitching, where even the leaders of HSN went out of their way to make all contestants feel comfortable and at ease in front of the judges. The founder of HSN, Bob Circosta, was quick to crack jokes and open the door for interaction with each contestant. Dara Trujillo, VP of HSN’s Merchandising and New Business Development, is a mastermind that quickly distinguished the yes from the no but even quicker to give constructive feedback. Joe LaClare, CEO of Harvest Growth (As Seen on TV), was the eyes of the operation. His commentary was minimal, but he did not miss a beat. Each contestant had only five minutes to present his/her product to the judges, which ranged from Christmas lights to hot sauce to popcorn and more.
Within a week of the competition, BizLaunch received word that a total of 24 participating entrepreneurs had been selected to move onto the next phase of the process. How exciting! Who knows – when watching HSN, you may soon see products that got their start right here in Arlington.
Guest blogger Cecilia Martinez is completing a summer internship with AED’s BizLaunch. She is a rising senior at James Madison University with a Business Management major and Spanish minor and hopes to one day open her own interior design business.Topic: BizLaunch