FLINT, Michigan -- Kayla Laird, a Flint native and Mott Community College and University of Michigan-Flint graduate, took home two prizes in the latest 100K Ideas Pitch4K competition in November -- the first place $5,000 grand prize and the $1,000 people’s choice award.
Laird won the prize money for her business, Lord Laird’s Premium Lemonade, which specializes in organic health drinks. The business was launched based on her father Joe researching foods, like lemon and aloe vera, that can reduce acid reflux and other stomach issues. Because many drinks on the market have synthetic ingredients and artificial sweeteners, they set out to create beverages that taste good and are healthy. They’ve created new flavors, researched health and bottling requirements, and are close to getting the product into stores.
Laird’s vision for the company includes eventually mass-producing their products in the city, hiring local to create jobs, and taking the lemonades from the local market to national ones.
“We want to be a catalyst for city of Flint entrepreneurs to show that they too can become a success story,” Laird said in her presentation.
In addition to winning first place from judges Kyona McGee of Trademark My Stuff, Natasha Peoples from the Michigan Economic Development Council, and Greg Viener from Huntington Bank, Laird also won the people’s choice award, which was voted on by the public.
Laird has several entrepreneurial ventures. She also owns Queen Netzo Jewelry, in memory of her mother Kennette Laird, and is developing a new natural energy bar business called Mobars.
Colleen Brown won second place ($2,500) in the competition for her idea, Made for You Dinner Service. Brown, who is also the mayor of Montrose, was inspired by the challenges that just having to figure out a dinner routine poses for working families on a daily basis. Her business provides simple, pre-prepared meals, with delivery or pick-up options.
Third place ($1,000) went to Dorian Jackson, a Flint native and owner of Natroil Grooming Company. The company offers groping products that include beard balms, perfumes, and cologne oils
The November competition was the fifth hosted by 100K Ideas since 2019. A sixth competition is planned for March 11, 2020, with submissions currently open until January 8, 2021. The competition is funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Michigan Economic Development Council.