Business · 7 Apr 2021

Novices Turn to Pitching Pros at COIN South

News Desk

News Desk


First time pitchers, COIN South Start It course graduates and established business people were among the crowd that aced the COIN South popcorn pitch night on Wednesday evening, pitching their idea to judges and an enthusiastic crowd.

Over 12 people pitched on the night including Danielle Jack, a Start It participant who pitched her idea of tech support for the elderly. Jack received positive feedback from the audience and received one of the judge’s pick awards. Jack had high praise for the Start It programme, “If it wasn’t for the course, we wouldn’t have anything to be launching soon.”

The judges included Derek Manson, Advanced Manufacturing Manager of FI Innovations, Miriam McKenzie founder of Say It Clearly and Louise Evans, Chief Activator of COIN South.
Awards for the night went to:
Judge’s pick:
– Danielle Jack
– Allison Beckham
– Hunter Kingsford-Smith
Best ask: Camelle Pink

The Best Ask award recipient, Camelle Pink pitched her Sip and Dance idea. As a dance teacher, the idea came from a lack of culture activities available in Invercargill for young professionals, those that can’t travel with their normal small groups due to Covid and anyone wanting to get out of their comfort zone.

Kim Spencer-McDonald was another graduate of the Start It course. Her business, Just Like You Aotearoa launched after lockdown 2020, and has rocketed to new heights. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wore her repurposed jewellery on TV and most recently Kim featured on The Project. Despite her recent business successes she saw the course as a good opportunity to refocus the business and learn more about the next stages of growth.

Fran Hesp, Community manager for COIN South and Start It course facilitator said “I am so proud of all of the participants for completing the course and especially those that got up and pitched their idea or business. Even though they were nervous, they felt the fear and did it anyway. We’ve seen huge growth and momentum from where they were at the start of the course and where they are now. Websites are being relaunched, businesses and pop events are almost ready to launch, it’s all very exciting and we can’t wait to see where they’ll head to next”.

The next Start It cohort commences 8 June and applications open 3 May. Spots are limited so make sure you head to for more information.