The Callaway Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Show-Me Innovation Pitch Competition and Show-Me Innovation Teen Pitch Competition Thursday.
The competitions took place simultaneously throughout Thursday at William Woods University's Aldridge Center.
This was the eighth annual Show-Me Innovation Pitch Competition and the first annual Teen Pitch Competition. In the spring, the chamber will host the third annual Collegiate Pitch Competition.
Contestants in the competition presented their business pitches, either for a business they want to start or a business that had already been started.
The pitches were presented to a panel of four judges. Tamara Tateosian, executive director of the chamber, said the "very distinguished" judges "are trying to build our economy and the economic welfare of not only Callaway County but also the state of Missouri."
The judges were Valerie Sebacher, deputy mayor for the City of Fulton; Allie Crabb, project manager with the Missouri Department of Economic Development; Ted Gutierez, state director for the Missouri Small Business Development Center; and Kim Gerlt, business recruitment manager and legal specialist with Missouri Partnership.
The presenting sponsor of this year's competitions was Callaway Bank.
Kim Barnes, president and CEO of Callaway Bank, announced the winners of the Teen Pitch Competition.
The second place winner was Rob's Odd Jobs. The business received $500 in prize money and a prize package.
The first place winner was Mid-MO Window Cleaning. The business received $1,000 in prize money.
Samuel Stevens, owner of Mid-MO Window Cleaning, is 15 years old. He is a sophomore at Missouri Military Academy.
Stevens started his business in August of 2022.
He said he has cleaned multiple businesses, and he also cleans homes inside and outside.
Stevens was inspired to start Mid-MO Window Cleaning after he took an intro to business class as a freshman.
"I made a business plan, and I took that business plan to Brianna [Kliethermes] at the Chamber of Commerce. She really helped me start my business and get everything going -- logo, business cards, all that," Stevens said.
He said that he wants to keep learning about entrepreneurship.
Stevens will use the $1,000 in prize money to expand the business, purchase equipment and hire more employees.
Mid-MO Window Cleaning is located in Fulton, but Stevens said he has done jobs in Jefferson City, Columbia and Auxvasse.
The main struggle he has had as a business owner comes from being 15.
"...since I'm only 15, I can't drive," Stevens said. "So I have to rely off my mom's schedule and where she can take me to get my quotes and do my job."
Stevens added it was difficult to find someone to insure him, since he is only 15.
To learn more about Mid-MO Window Cleaning, email [email protected] or call 573-826-0443.
Barnes also announced the winners of the Show-Me Innovation Pitch Competition.
The second place winner was Killer Sweet Desserts. The business received $1,500 in prize money and a prize package.
The first place winner was Beautifully Grimm Tattoos. For first place, the business received $3,000 and a prize package.
Courteney Grimm and Mandy Clark pitched Beautifully Grimm Tattoos in the competition. Both are artists at the business, with Grimm also being the owner.
Grimm said the business opened in September and is located in Fulton.
She said their pitch during the competition was about "our female empowerment, connections with community, kind of changing the idea of what traditional tattoo studios are."
"I think the judges really well received it," Grimm said. "We've noticed the community itself has been very excited that we're here. It's been a long time since Fulton had a tattoo shop, and they've never had a tattoo shop like this."
She said they are trying to reinvent what people think of about tattoo shops.
"We went with a different aesthetic view when you walk in. It's a closed shop, so all the rooms are private setups so if you want sensitive areas tattooed, you don't have anybody but you and your artist in there," Grimm said.
She added they walk through the whole process with their clients, including the healing process afterward.
Grimm and Clark are the only two employees at Beautifully Grimm Tattoos, but they are looking to add a piercer before the end of the year.
The business has additional space for more tattoo artists, Grimm said.
With the prize money, they plan to buy two new professional-grade tattoo machines. They also plan on buying signs for the business to make it easier to spot.
The biggest challenge for Grimm and Clark in preparing for the competition was nervousness.
"We've been very nervous about the entire thing, but I worked with the Chamber of Commerce on our pitch," Grimm said.
She added she also got help from her cousin, who owns several businesses.
Beautifully Grimm Tattoos is located at 605 Nichols St. To learn more, visit beautifully-grimm-tattoos.square.site.