July 12, 2024

The Chief Mag

Smart Solutions for Your Business

Yuma Small Business Development Center hosts Moonshot Pitch Competition

2 min read

Six Yuma County businesses pitched their big ideas to a panel of judges earlier this month in a local competition designed to boost small businesses.

The Yuma business owners were selected by the Arizona Western Entrepreneurial College Small Business Development Center for the “Moonshot” pitch competition.

After meeting with SBDC employees over several weeks to develop and craft a presentation about their respective business, the small business owners gathered on June 7 at the AWC Yuma main campus.

They were each given five minutes to pitch their business plans. Think “Shark Tank”.

A panel of four judges including AWC President Daniel Corr and Arizona state Rep. Michele Pena listened closely.

Pitches included ideas to encourage kids to play outside, Zumba exercise classes and mobile welding instruction.

Some of the business represented were Elite Fusion and Fabrication, which provides hand on education in welding; PWRJOULE, a small business that builds sustainable long-duration flow battery storage and Yuma Brew and View, which takes coffee sacks and turns them into artwork.

After some deliberation, it was announced that the winner of the Moonshot Rural Arizona pitch competition for 2024 is the Back To Nature Learning Center.

Owner Cynthia Bueno said Back 2 Nature is the first outdoor classroom in Yuma County where children are encouraged to play, explore and learn in a natural outdoor space.

Cynthia Bueno makes her pitch about her business Back 2 Nature Learning Center at the Yuma SBDC "moonshot" pitch competition on June 7, 2024.

Cynthia Bueno makes her pitch about her business Back 2 Nature Learning Center at the Yuma SBDC “moonshot” pitch competition on June 7, 2024.

With the win, Bueno will receive a scholarship, entrepreneur education and mentorship, an invitation to a state pitch competition in Cottonwood, a cash prize of $1,600, an interest-free loan of up to $10,000 from Avenir Financial, a year’s membership to the Yuma Chamber of Commerce and a trophy.

“We haven’t even opened up and we already have a lot of interest from families with children who want to be a part of our learning center,” Bueno said.

Bryan Nance with the Elemental Fitness Club took second place. Back To Nature was named the audience favorite and Fitness Spot by Selene, which specializes in Zumba and bachata dance classes with instructor Selene Hinojosa was selected as the sponsors favorite.

Selene Hinojosa, owner of Fitness Spot by Selene, makes a pitch for her business during the SBDC competition on June 7, 2024.

Selene Hinojosa, owner of Fitness Spot by Selene, makes a pitch for her business during the SBDC competition on June 7, 2024.

SBDC director Crystal Mendoza said her agency is available to the community, including in ongoing open counseling sessions at AWC campuses and libraries in Yuma and La Paz counties.

“What’s most impressive is just seeing (small business owners) grow,” Mendoza told KAWC. “They come to us and share their dream.”

The SBDC also recognized a small business from each of the communities it serves. They are:

Yuma-El Taco Dorado

San Luis, Ariz.-Your Greens Salad

Somerton- La Casa del Tamal

Wellton- Naked Dates

Parker- Jane’s Junction-


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