Blessings Photography Wins First Place at Launch Jay Pitch Competition

In 2009, Dawn Alicea was battling severe depression and everything she did was for others. Her counselor advised Dawn to find something she did for herself. Dawn picked up a camera and photographed whatever caught her eye. What started as a therapeutic hobby is now a photography business: Blessing’s Photography. Dawn’s business boasts a brick-and-mortar location with two studios, one of which is dedicated to newborn photography. Dawn also photographs weddings, families, seniors, smash and splashes, and themed mini sessions. Dawn’s business is growing, and she is branching out into dynamic sports photography. The challenge she faced was that this type of photography requires new equipment and additional education. Knowing Dawn’s plans, her East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) advisor Karen Lloyd encouraged Dawn to enter the Launch Jay Pitch Competition. This competition includes several weeks of workshops where entrepreneurs learn about business plans, financial management, and marketing. At the end of the series of workshops, the participants pitch their business idea to a panel of judges and an audience of friends, family, and community members. “Probably the most challenging aspect for me was being confident enough to get up on stage in front of an auditorium full of people and 5 judges….and ‘sell’ myself, my abilities, and my idea,” Dawn expressed. “As I continued to practice and rework my presentation day after day…. I really started to feel my level of confidence in my ability to ‘pull this off’ grow.” Dawn not only won first place in the Launch Jay Pitch Competition, but she also landed the fan favorite award. “This experience has brought so much more confidence to me personally and as a business owner. Answering the judges’ questions the night of the competition after I had my presentation, I finally proved to myself that I AM a professional in my chosen field and I DID deserve to win,” she shared. Dawn shares this advice with anyone looking to participate in a pitch competition: “If you have an idea on how to improve something in your business or an idea of a business that you would like to bring to your community… sign up for a Pitch Competition. Everything that you gain from the experience, whether you win first place, fan favorite or nothing at all… will only better you, your business idea, and your community.”

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