The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - 16

THE GAUNTLET:

Empowering
Entrepreneurs to
Succeed
An array of resources exists to
help local entrepreneurs take their
businesses to the next level. The
Gauntlet coordinates efforts to
strengthen the entrepreneurial
ecosystem.

16

JULY/AUGUST 2019

Female Baseball
Broadcasters Slide
Into History Books
Local Salem Red Sox boast first
all-female announcing team in
pro baseball.

T

HE SALEM RED Sox, a minor league
baseball team affiliated with the Boston
Red Sox, made history this season
before a player stepped on the field. Suzie
Cool and Melanie Newman became the
first all-female broadcast duo in professional
baseball when the team opened their season
on April 4th. In the male-dominated field of
baseball announcing, a woman in the press
box is a rare sight, and the idea of a female
tandem calling games was unimaginable even
a decade ago.
"This industry is hard to break into, as a
male or female," says Cool, 26, a Pittsburgh
product who grew up watching the Pirates
and playing softball. "I just kept at it. If I
didn't get a job I wanted, I just thought 'hey,
I'll get it next time' and worked harder."
Cool and Newman share a tireless work
ethic, wearing multiple hats for the Sox
organization, often pulling 15- or 16-hour
days at the ballpark in addition to a grueling
road schedule. "I've told people that I've never
been more tired, or more happy in my job,"
says Newman, 28, a Georgia native with more
than 10 years of broadcasting experience who
came to Salem this year from the AA Frisco
Roughriders.
Sporting dusty baseball-themed Keds,
Newman is a petite brunette whose rich,
throaty voice defies her stature. While calling
TheRoanoker.com

TIM CARRETT / GETTY IMAGES

T

HE GAUNTLET, run by The Advancement
Foundation, is Virginia's largest business
program and competition. It is a comprehensive
business development program that provides both
small business education and a chance to compete
for cash and in-kind resources to start or expand a
business located in Allegheny Highlands, Botetourt,
Roanoke City and County or Salem.
Started in 2015 with 15 entrepreneurs, the purpose
of the Gauntlet is to help grow our local entrepreneurial
ecosystem. It is a place where entrepreneurs, regardless
of where they're at in their business, receive knowledge,
mentorship, encouragement, networks and resources
to further help grow their businesses. This year, 122
entrepreneurs participated bringing the total to 300 who
have been trained and supported in the last five years.
Every February, entrepreneurs begin 10 weeks of
classes that includes topics such as market advantage,
marketing, budgeting and cash flow. They are matched
with mentors for one-on-one coaching and they begin
to become comfortable sharing their ideas and passion
with others.
The competition happens in mid-April. Judging is
based mostly on feasibility and strategy of the business.
Judging panels are built with community and business
leaders in the areas that support The Gauntlet and
want to see small businesses continue to grow.
"Prizes are announced at the May awards ceremony
and packages are customized for each competing
business to provide them what they need to get to
the next level. This is also a chance where mentors,
sponsors, family and friends can come to share the
excitement of the program and see the variety of
businesses that participated," says Annette Patterson,
founder and president of the Advancement Foundation.
This year, $300,000 cash and in-kind prizes
were awarded, and prizes were dispersed among all
competing businesses. The top prize went to Homer
Warren and Nick Morgan of Formable Grabber, the
first auto-unlocking innovation since 1998. Second
place was Roanoke Neuromuscular and IVO Limited
and Easy Workings tied for third. -LAURA WADE


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The Roanoker - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - July/August 2019

The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Intro
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover1
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover2
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - 3
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V1
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover3
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover4
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