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Pet Connections Expo 2018 to Offer Pitch Competition and Consulting Sessions


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The Pet Connections Expo, hosted by International Conference Development, LLC (ICDevents), will collaborate with Bark Your Biz during its second annual event, which will be held Oct. 2-3, 2018, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa.

The Bark Your Biz collaboration will feature a live “elevator pitch” competition that is not about begging investors for funding, but instead gives participating entrepreneurs the experience of pitching before an expert panel and live audience.

The Bark Your Biz event will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 3 as a live on-stage competition among five entrepreneur “Barkers”, each of whom will give a three-minute timed elevator pitch, followed by questions from the panel and hosts. The panel will give advice and score the pitches and products presented. Winners will receive valuable business intelligence in the form of expert consults provided by the hosts and panelists offering advice on branding, website evaluations, digital marketing support and retail marketing strategies. 

Bark Your Biz was created by Anthony and Amanda Bennie, the hosts of Bennie & The Pets, a podcast radio show known for its irreverent insider take on the pet industry, according to show organizers. The hosts are also co-founders of Clear Conscience Pet, a pet nutrition company.  

“Bark Your Biz is like “Shark Tank,” “American Idol” and “Jeopardy” all in one exciting and fast-moving program,” said Anthony Bennie. “We are psyched to take it to the next level at Pet Connections Expo, the newest and by far the most innovative trade show in the pet products industry.”

Contestants will be chosen by the hosts and panelists. To be considered, it is required that interested entrepreneurs be 2018 exhibitors at Pet Connections Expo.  They are also required to be pet industry brand owners or senior executives.  

“Interested candidates may apply now,” said co-host, Amanda Bennie. “To apply, send an email to amanda@clearconsciencepet.com and tell us who you are, what you do and why you want to ‘Bark Your Biz.’”

Expert panelists for the Pet Connections Expo live show will include: Phil Chang, retailing expert and founder of Retail Phil; Tazz Latifi, holistic pet retailer and pet nutrition and wellness expert and founder and CEO of New York City’s Petropolis; and B.C. Henschen, and independent pet specialty retailer and founder and CEO of Platinum Paws, an independent retail store in Carmel, Ind.

In addition to the Bark Your Biz event, the Pet Connections Expo will also offer attendees and exhibitors complimentary consulting sessions with Vicki Lynne Morgan, a pet industry veteran and owner of Animal Brands. She is a pet industry business development advisor and consultant who will offer advice from real-world experience in private consultations. 

Strategic business tips and brainstorming sessions will be available during one-on-one and small group sessions, scheduled daily.

Since 2001, Morgan has counseled and trained more than 1,000 small business owners through the SBA-funded Small Business Development Centers on New Jersey college campuses. Her topics include, but are not limited to: foundations for launching a successful business, business plans, integrated, inbound guerrilla marketing, selling skills, messaging that attracts the target audience, customer experience management, channel partner relationships, sales collateral review, networking skills, fusion marketing and more.

“Trial and error is not an option for achieving long-term success and profitability. Unfortunately, many small-business owners don’t have access to sound advice and guidance from someone who knows the pet industry and understands the decisions they need to make to reach their goals,” Morgan said. “Each session will address specific issues and concerns based on participants’ input. Attendees will leave with new insight and a lot of homework that will help them sustain and grow business opportunities and profitability.” 

The “Ask the Expert” business sessions will be conducted in specially-designated booth space on the Pet Expo Connections show floor. Sessions will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to those who sign up in advance through the show’s mobile app. A maximum of three companies, two representatives each, may attend the 50-minute sessions.

“Small business owners are facing many challenges this year,” said Bill Doherty, show director. “We wanted to offer these services free of charge to encourage as many retailers as possible to participate.  These sessions will expand our offerings and provide targeted business advice in an intimate setting.” 

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