Lavanetta Quince, The Southern Cup
A runner-up on Student Pitch Day, Quince decided to try out a new business idea at Lion Cage: The Southern Cup, a community-based coffee shop providing meeting space, board games and southern-style desserts.
Inspired by childhood memories of sharing coffee with her father and enjoying Sunday dinners with her grandmother, Quince wants to create a space to bring people together.
“Growing up, we’d get together every week, and play cards over coffee and sweet potato pie,” she said. “People would join in and play; it didn’t matter if they were a stranger or a member of the family. It was a regular thing for us. But now it seems that happens less and less — people are so consumed technology. With the Southern Cup, I want to bring the comradery back.”
Noticing that big-name competitors lack meeting space — customers tend to get what they need and leave — she aims to create a place where people engage with one another.
Quince plans to determine a location in Philadelphia for The Southern Cup, and is in the process of trademarking the name.
About the event
In addition to a pitch competition, the organizers created an event to include, educate and involve the local community.
Lion Cage began with a keynote address from Michael Dermer, founder and author of The Lonely Entrepreneur. Dermer left a promising career as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer to start IncentOne, the first company to provide rewards for healthy behavior.
Dermer spoke to the audience on how to become a successful entrepreneur, emphasizing the need to embrace humility, communicate amidst the chaos, and create a process.
“Entrepreneur is not just a job, it’s an identity,” Dermer said. “You need to create an arena where it’s only you, and embrace that journey.”
Later on, Anthony Gold, co-founder of ROAR for Good, discussed how to build a startup by creating a strong team and fundraising. Gold drew on his own experience utilizing accelerators and crowdfunding when launching his business.
Bersak, the man behind Pop in Kids Club, found the speakers informative and interesting.
“The Lion Cage speakers were top-notch,” he said. “I was truly impressed, engaged and enriched. As an entrepreneur about to launch my business, I could relate to their passion and their struggles. It’s encouraging to hear they came out on top.”
Having participated in other regional pitch events, Bersak particularly enjoyed being able to watch other pitches.
“Whether the presenter had an idea or fully operational business, we learned from one another and networked,” said Bersak.
For the Southern Cup’s Lavanetta Quince, pitching her idea to seasoned entrepreneurs helped her think differently.
“I learned a lot,” she added. “I didn’t think to consider a trademark until I spoke with one of the judges. I encourage anyone with a business idea to participate in an event like Lion Cage. It’s a learning experience; you can find out what you are missing or overlooking. You can speak with experts, seek feedback, and determine if your idea is viable.”
For the organizers, it was a successful event that brought several of REV-UP’s goals to fruition.
“We achieved everything we had hoped for in creating this event,” said Doug Schumer, faculty director for REV-UP. “Entrepreneurs created visibility for their companies, received feedback from the panel of judges, and formed new connections. Our speakers shared their experiences in founding companies, which directly correlates to our goal of helping entrepreneurs start new businesses in the commonwealth.”
Chancellor Nemes agreed. “One of the things I was particularly pleased to see was participation beyond students,” he said. “Including and educating alumni and community entrepreneurs has been one of our objectives and it was great to see it happen.”