Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 21 Sep 2019 12am







    Friday, September 20, 2019-5:00:04P.M.






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Salty Skin Pacific wins inaugural Pitchfest

SALTY Skin Pacific LLC, an apparel business that is also into ocean conservation, won the inaugural Pitchfest competition in the Hyatt Regency Saipan’s Ballroom on Saturday.

Hosted by the Saipan Chamber of Commerce and supported by the CNMI Small Business Development Center, Pitchfest allows entrepreneurs to share their innovative ideas with a panel of judges and an audience for a chance to win seed money that can help grow or launch a small business.

Salty Skin owner Joseph Villacrusis and seven other entrepreneurs presented their business ideas in front of five judges.

Marianas Creation LLC is a restaurant/retail business that promotes home-grown or locally made products. Its owners are Jeremiah Wolfe and Elina Gharti Chhetri.

Ra Power Manufacturing, which sells island-made solar generators, is owned by Vincent Aldan.

Isla Shreds removes, destroys and disposes confidential and non-confidential documents. The paper is then “returned” to the environment through the mulching process.

Diana Benavente Hocog’s JD’s Boutique is a clothing and accessory store on Rota for men and women, as well as children and babies. The store wants its customers feel good about themselves without having to spend too much on clothes and accessories.

Priscilla Jose Pangelinan said her company, Music & Me Arts & Culture, is the product of her passion for arts and crafts, music composition “and my love for local culture.”

Michea Arritola’s Guava Rose Resale sells one-of-a-kind affordable clothing made from second-hand goods purchased on island.

Tahine’s TV Productions, which is owned by Vicente and Tanya Salas, blends the best of photography and video media with cultural experiences for visitors and locals.

Salty Skin Pacific LLC owner Joseph Villacrusis, center, poses with other contestants after the Pitchfest presentation in the Hyatt Regency Saipan Ballroom on Saturday.  Photos by Emmanuel T. EredianoSalty Skin Pacific LLC owner Joseph Villacrusis, center, poses with other contestants after the Pitchfest presentation in the Hyatt Regency Saipan Ballroom on Saturday. Photos by Emmanuel T. Erediano

For winning the competition, Salty Skin’s Joseph Villacrusis and his business partner, James Lee, received $2,000 in seed money to start or grow their business. They will also get free chamber of commerce membership under the start-up package valued at $300, free Saipan Young Professionals Membership for one year ($50 value); a recognition plaque/trophy; and a gift bag from community sponsors.

Those who received the Chamber Choice Award were Diana Benavente Hocog’s JD’s Boutique on Rota; Vicente II and Tanya Salas’ Tahine’s TV Productions; Vincent Aldan’s Ra Power Manufacturing; and Priscilla Jose Pangelinan’s Music & Me Arts & Culture.

Michea Arritola’s Guava Rose Resale and Tahine’s TV Production received the Accelerator Investors Award.

Tahine’s TV Production also won the Tan Siu Lin Champion Investor Award.

Isla Shreds received the IT&E Choice Award; Marianas Creation LLC, the Marianas Business Plaza Choice Award, and Salty Skin LLC, the I Love Saipan Choice Award.

Northern Marianas College Interim President Frankie Eliptico, who was one of the judges, said everyone did a “phenomenal job.”

“I admire their courage and their passion for their businesses. It takes a lot to put yourself out there and to be share your business ideas, your plans and goals. It is incredibly inspiring for others who also want to take that lead in creating their own business,” he added.

Villacrusis said he and Lee are very grateful for the confidence of the competition judges and the audience.

“We are also excited to move forward with our business and do great things for the CNMI and hopefully in the future, contribute to ocean conservation globally,” he added.

He said they plan to share their $2,000 cash prize with the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of the diverse natural resources of the Northern Mariana Islands.