WSLS: Startup businesses get a big boost from “The Gauntlet”

WSLS- The Gauntlet

Saturday Update:

ROANOKE (WSLS) – After months of perfecting their business plans, 12 contestants made their way Saturday morning to the CoLab in Grandin Village to present their ideas to a panel of judges.

In the morning session Khalid Jones and his business Community Cultivators Barber Academy won $1000 in grant money to help his business the focuses on recruiting “at-risk” youth to his barber training school.

His sister, Habibah Yasin took second place with her similar idea, Black Diamond School of Beauty. She won $500.

In the afternoon session Shannon Williams and business Looks and Books took first place, also winning $1000.

Taking second place is Keisha Graziadei-Shup with business La Conexion, a start up that focuses on the Hispanic community.

All businesses came away with some sort of prize that judges felt would best help their business get off of the ground.

Organizers say the event was a complete success. Plans are already underway for another “Gauntlet” Competition in October.


VINTON(WSLS) -This weekend start up business owners will have the opportunity to make it “big,“ possibly becoming the Roanoke Valley’s next entrepreneur.

It’s a competition called “The gauntlet.”

Similar to the TV show “shark tank,” contestants will pitch their business plans to a panel of judges.

Up for grabs in the competition is grant money, and business services like accounting, a free website and a membership to the chamber of commerce.

President of the Advancement Foundation Annette Patterson says the businesses have grown through a business incubator for the past six months. She says it’s a rewarding process to see competitors grow both personally and professionally.

They’ve been able to challenge each other. They’ve sort of had fun knowing that this is a competition, they have to come and bring their game,“ Patterson said.

The competition starts at 9 a.m. at the CoLab in Grandin Village.

Samantha Lukasiewicz

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