On Wednesday, Northern Kentucky University’s Griffin Hall auditorium was filled with enthusiastic members of the community, eagerly waiting to see and hear the business pitches of three up-and-coming female entrepreneurs.
At the end of the pitches, Tickety Boo Treats, a Newport-based allergen-free treat maker, won the Aviatra Accelerators Flight Night pitch competition.
Aviatra is a non-profit entrepreneurship accelerator focused on helping women-owned startups and small businesses.
The grand prize awarded to Tickety Boo was $5,000 from Alloy Development and $3,000 from PR and social media support from Scooter Media.
The entrepreneurs recently completed Aviatra’s Launch Class, a 10-week program that teaches new business owners how to create a business plan with a three-year financial projection, work with a designated mentor, and participate in networking and coaching events.
Tickety Boo Treats
The allergen-free treat maker was founded by Abbi Rettig in October 2020 with a wholesale account. Today, the company is large enough to operate its own manufacturing facility in Newport.
Two products are made by Tickety Boo: cheesecakes and cheesecake crusts. The cheesecakes are available in three sizes: individual, six inch and nine inch, and nine different flavors.
All Tickety Boo products are gluten-free, vegan and plant-based. Currently, Tickety Boo products can be found in cafes, restaurants and local grocery stores across all three states. Tickety Boo recently launched at Fresh Thyme Market, and can also be found on walmart.com and amazon.com.
Rettig was inspired to start her business after attending a child’s birthday party. She has seen children not eating the treats provided due to dietary restrictions.
“At that point I knew there needed to be a change and I knew there had to be more options that could be standardized,” Rettig said.
Rettig herself has celiac disease and understands the dietary challenges that people with allergies and eating disorders face on a daily basis.
“It’s hard to find nutritious and delicious products,” Rettig said. “I learned through my health issues that whole, nutritious, delicious foods were hard to come by. But they also healed my body.
Tickety Boo is a slang term used in the UK which means “everything is fine”. Rettig and her husband had previously lived in the north of England for around two years. While living in England, Rettig said the phrase was used every day in casual conversation.
As Rettig and her husband got used to living in England, she learned to embrace the phrase.
Rettig’s long-term goal is to have Tickety Boo in pantries and freezers nationwide, and potentially around the world.
The network of nail salons
Second place went to Helen On and Julie Rowland who are working together on their project The Nail Salon Network.
We are originally from Vietnam. According to On, approximately 80% of all nail salons in the United States are operated by Vietnamese Americans or people of Vietnamese descent.
It is said that there is a language barrier which can sometimes hamper the relationship between Vietnamese nail technicians and their American clients.
“Most Vietnamese, when they come to the United States, find it difficult to find a job because of the language barrier. They can’t do anything, so with the nail business, we can help each other,” On said.
She wanted to create an app that helps nail technicians and merchants find quality solutions to this problem.
Its app is called Nailvigation, which operates user interfaces in English and Vietnamese. The app was said to be currently in beta testing across the country.
“Clients can read their information, book an appointment, and choose the service they want, while being able to choose the nail polish color they want at this point,” Rowland said.
It wasn’t an easy journey for On, who at one point said the app’s code was lost entirely. We were able to regroup and form a new team, pursuing our objectives until the finish line.
There are plans to add payroll and payment processing to the app in the future. There is also a forum aspect in the app, which it is hoped can help bring the nail community together.
Vale Technologies finished in third place.
Vale is founded by Molly Hoying and Dr. Jingjie Wu. Hoying has an engineering background and holds an MBA.
Vale is a company that produces carbon dioxide-capturing electrolyzers, a device that converts the energy of the chemical reaction directly into two by-products. Through the absorption of carbon dioxide and water, ethylene and oxygen are produced.
Ethylene can be sold and is used in the manufacture of materials such as fabricated plastics and antifreeze.
Hoying partnered with Wu and the University of Cincinnati, who also has an engineering background.
“If you didn’t know, every 10 seconds, 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air,” Hoying said. “Vale Technologies is the solution to this problem.”
Hoying identifies large carbon dioxide emitters, such as oil and chemical companies, as the target audience for their product. Hoying said Vale had informal talks with more than 125 companies that emit carbon dioxide.
Going forward, Hoying has developed a four-part business plan that includes: conducting additional market research, researching and deploying the prototype, improving the prototype, and implementing a project. pilot.
“It’s part of my mission to help growing kids have bright futures as much as possible, and overall it’s something I’m passionate about,” Hoying said.