COSE Business Pitch Competition

Bradley Sanchez Houseton
CEO, The Houseton Group

More Highlights from the COSE Small Business Convention

As I mentioned in a previous post, the COSE Small Business Convention was held in Sandusky, OH October 24th & 25th. If you were among the group of us who arrived onsite a day early, perhaps you also attended the COSE Business Pitch Competition on October 23rd to see the four finalists present their business ideas.

Really Good Stuff!

The format was basically that each presenter had 15 minutes to pitch their business idea and leave enough time in their allotment for Q&A with the panel of four judges.  Up for grabs was a $40,000 purse with each finalist taking home a percentage based on how they finished in the pitch competition.

  • 1st Place = $20,000 went to Daniel Mansoor of GiveNext, an online (and mobile) dashboard where donors transact and manage their charitable giving in partnership with the causes they care about.
  • 2nd Place = $10,000 went to Erika Boll of The Toasted Oat, LLC, a gluten-free granola manufacturer established in January 2013. The company targets wholesale, retail and direct-to-consumer sales.
  • 3rd Place = $5,000 went to Nichelle McCall of BOLD Guidance, Inc. which makes applying to college less stressful with mobile and computer- based apps, that allows students to easily and efficiently manage the college application process from anywhere.
  • 4th Place = $5,000 went to Deb Stanzak of RonWear Port-able Clothing, a manufacturer of fashionable apparel, designed for comfort, modesty as well as ease of access for anyone who requires infusion for medical treatments.

Each business idea uniquely satisfied a real need in the marketplace. It was quite impressive. I can see why these four entrepreneurs were selected as the finalists in this year’s competition.


Daniel Mansoor, GiftNext, is awarded the 1st Place, $20,000 check.

Something else that was also incredibly impressive was how supportive and encouraging everyone seemed to be of these entrepreneurs. On the evening of the competition and over the next two days of the convention, it was clear that everyone wanted to see these new businesses succeed. Whether it was imparting words of wisdom, offering advice, or simply asking if there was anything these four entrepreneurs needed, there was a very generous and giving spirit that was ever present.

That same spirit was felt across the conference in workshops, plenaries, and in the exhibit hall. I was there with WOW! Cookies!, and everyone who came by the booth wanted more than just to sample the decadent cookies.  People grabbed a cookie then stayed and talked, shared experiences, and asked questions.  That level of engagement was quite gratifying.

I credit COSE for cultivating a culture of warmth, encouragement, and a drive to succeed.  It was a really great convention!

Congratulations to the four COSE Business Pitch Competition Finalists!  WOW! Cookies! wishes you a prosperous future!


See the official COSE announcement:



Bradley Sanchez Houseton is a guest blogger making regular
contributions to the WOW! Cookies! blog space.

You can find more from Bradley at The Houseton Group.