TS Bank and Advance Southwest Iowa have announced the winners of the REV pitch competition.
The competition was held Tuesday, October 19 at Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center in Council Bluffs where five small business owners pitched for the chance to win $15,000 to grow their business.
Viva Fit Kitchen of Council Bluffs took first place and was awarded $12,000. Founder and Lead Chef Alejandra Valdez recently started her business to help build a healthy community by making healthy food convenient and affordable. It is the only meal prep service of its kind in the region that provides nutritious, healthy and authentic Mexican meals.
“Thank you for believing in my dream and making the investment in my vision,” said Alejandra Valdez, founder and owner of Viva Fit Kitchen. “Impacting our community is so huge for us, this investment will help us in becoming more accessible to our community. Viva Fit Kitchen is ready to take it to the next level.”
Viva Fit Kitchen plans to use the funds to help pay two new fridges, licensing and inventory costs. As they grow their vending machine locations, the plan is to open their own production kitchen and teach master classes on starting and growing other meal prep businesses.
The Occasional Collective, a business planning to open a unique storefront in Treynor, Iowa, won second place and was awarded $3,000. The store will sell thoughtfully curated, sustainably focused and locally sources goods including unique, small-batch, handcrafted items.
Having locally sources goods helps with environmental impact and creates important economic opportunities for rural communities. The funds will be used to build out the storefront’s exterior and interior as well as to secure equipment and merchandise. The Occasional Collective currently sells its goods online and has plans for a grand opening of the storefront in 2022.
From the pool of 25 applicants, five applicants were selected to pitch to a panel of judges where contestants were evaluated on various aspects of their business.
The three other top-five applicants included Chef Around the Block, who brings culinary endeavors to the masses through delicious food and education; Hellcat Technologies, a new mobile app and web portal platform company for telecom and public utilities; and Tossibles, a new fem tech brand bringing sanity and style to feminine hygiene disposal.
TS Bank originally started REV in 2015 in an effort to spur economic growth and encourage business owners to continue pursuing their dreams. The competition has now given out a total of more than $100,000 to small businesses.