HYANNIS – The big idea was such a big deal that politicians were there.
State Senator Julian Cyr, (D-Truro) said, “This is an example of what’s possible.”
And State Representative Tim Whelan, (R-Brewster) said, “This is almost like Shark Tank on 93 octane fuel.”
The big idea by CCYP was to hold a live-pitch event to see who on Cape Cod has a big idea.
More than 100 people showed up at Cape Cod Beer to hear 20 people pitch an idea, for two-minutes, to make Cape Cod a better place.
As Cyr said of Cape Cod, “This has always been an entrepreneurial place.”
It began as a networking event, same as all others. Name tags were worn and business cards were exchanged, along with the requisite smiles and greetings. But this was no ordinary networking event.
When folks settled into their seats, the pitching began – everything from helping people deal with grief to promoting Cape Cod as a world-class cycling destination and planting hazelnut trees across the Cape as sustainable food were suggested.
Some of those pitching seemed to be promoting businesses, including dreamy concepts such as a film production company taking advantage of the creative talent on the Cape.
With a $250 prize riding on an online vote, those pitching were limited to two minutes. Lauren Barker, CEO of CCYP, policed the time limit by holding up a sign with the word “TIME” in red letters.
“This is your exit music,” Barker warned. Some needed it; others finished with time to spare.
There were various styles. Most were straightforward explanations, although some brought props and one, to bring board-gaming as a means of social growth and interaction back, included something of a skit of a teenager distracted by a cellphone.
Meadow Hilley, suggested Cape Cod Black Box, crowdsourcing Cape history after telling of discovering ominous facts about some Cape sailing captains and their relation to the slave trade.
One pitch, by Robert Surrette, called for a creative solution to the housing shortage. The idea, he said is to “encourage existing homeowners to build small mini-houses they can rent out.” Anticipating some pushback, he suggested the county hire a housing czar.
Bob Cody suggested a Cape Cod Innovation Center that is “focused on coastal resilient housing that can stand up to anything mother nature can throw at it.”
And Madhavi Venkatesan of Sustainable Practices encouraged a 15-town plastic bottle ban. “We have to know what it is we are consuming and what is the true cost of our consumption,” she said. “We need to educate and legislate.”
After all the pitches were over, 86 votes were cast, said Lauren Barker.
The winner, Lisa Guyon, said she has been a member of CCYP for 12 years. “I love the fact that they are continually trying to bring new ideas to the front,” she said.
Guyon said she had been thinking about her idea for a long time. But she’d been “super busy” and didn’t really have an idea on how to share her idea, based on a personal experience.
It first started when she met a woman much older than herself, said Guyon. “Our dogs became friends, and then we became friends,” she explained after she won.
But her elderly friend became sick and could no longer take care of her dog full time. So Guyon began thinking of something she called the Cape Cod Pet Collective, which she described as “pet sharing for seniors and families.”
When she heard of the CCYP event, Guyon said, “I wanted to see if it had legs, four legs.”
When she won, Guyon said, “I’m really in shock.” She added, “I’m going to make this happen.”
Some of those without winning checks seemed just as determined.
Samantha Peters had the big idea of everyone connecting more to everyone and, as she said, “Making sure everyone in our community has a stronger sense of belonging.”
Thanks to CCYP, Cape Cod Beer and everyone participating, that one idea seemed to be more than talk on Tuesday.
Still, what happens next will be what counts.
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