Launch P@d Chooses Winner of Pitch Competition

Launch P@d Chooses Winner of Pitch Competition

Terre Haute, Ind. – Visitors of downtown Terre Haute will soon be able to make memories – and snap unique selfies – at the newest business, Snapped: A Selfie Experience.

Monday night Launch Terre Haute, the West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center and other partners chose the winner of the first Launch P@d Pitch Competition. The winner, Laken Richardson, was selected for her unique business plan to open a “selfie gallery”.

“Our community has begged for experiences and a selfie gallery is universal to who it would serve; ages five to ninety-five photos are not limited to an audience, everyone takes photos,” Richardson said during her pitch. “It is an interactive and immersive experience with unique backgrounds and staged rooms, perfect for your selfies.”

Snapped will offer rotating photo backgrounds, themed rooms and more. The business can be used for date nights, birthday parties and more. Richardson says she’ll target all types of customers, especially catering to college students, young adults and school age children. 

The Pitch Competition was just one aspect of “Launch P@d”; both a business pitch competition and  business mentoring service. It was first developed by a group of volunteers on the Economic Development pillar of the See You in Terre Haute 2025 Plan. A partnership between Downtown Terre Haute, the Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Small Business Development Center and local businesses allows Launch P@d to provide entrepreneurs a space to bring new ideas to West Central Indiana.

Richardson, who also owns and operates Terre Haute party business, Foam Homies, wins access to the space located at 425 Wabash Avenue at a discounted rental rate. Owned by George and Cathy Azar, the location sits next to their family restaurant, The Saratoga. 

Judges of the Pitch Competition – Chamber of Commerce President Kristin Craig, downtown business owner and Director of Chances and Services for Youth Brandon Halleck and Alexis Green, manager of The Saratoga – said narrowing down a winner of the competition was difficult. In addition to Richardson entrepreneurs including Emily Freeman who pitched a “maker’s studio” and Jill Dugan-Miller, who pitched a PR and Marketing firm focused on the healthcare industry.

“It was not easy, that’s why we pulled in (Launch Director) Jared (Ell) and (West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center Regional Director) Courtney Chipol, the three of us thought each idea was unique, with a detailed business plan and any of those businesses would be a great addition to downtown,” Craig said. 

Launch Director Jared Ell confirmed Craig’s comments, saying none of the ideas should “die on the vine” offering Launch Terre Haute membership for six months to each of the entrepreneurs. 

As for Richardson, she plans to open the gallery experience in November, with hopes to open as part of Small Business Saturday.

“This has been the most incredible life experience,” she said. “Even if I didn’t win it was one of those milestones that I needed to make for myself.”

Special thanks to the title sponsor of Launch P@d, Crane Federal Credit Union and angel investors, Joink and Centerpoint Energy. 

Additional sponsors include the City of Terre Haute, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, West Central Indiana Business Development Center, Baesler’s Market, The Saratoga, Downtown Terre Haute and the See You in Terre Haute Community Plan. 

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