A Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group (BIG) client and Statesboro-based business won $2,500 and claimed the runner-up spot at the 2023 GRIT Conference Startup Stage Pitch Competition held in January.
Whiskey Grail, a business co-owned by Georgia Southern alumnus and entrepreneur Jim Walker and Statesboro entrepreneur Adam Tsang, offers handmade, American white oak drinking vessels with a charred interior designed to mimic the barrels where bourbon whiskey ages. Each grail is hand-crafted by expert artisans in BIG’s Fabrication Lab (FabLab) in downtown Statesboro.
Walker and Tsang, who started the business in November 2020, represented one of six start-up ventures selected from a group of 31 applicants to deliver their pitch to the competition’s five judges at the Creative Coast’s annual innovation conference. The panel included venture capitalists and angel investors Bill Glenn, Julianne Roseman, Steve Perricone, Jim Goodlet and Bill Nussey.
“It’s incredibly validating to the work that both of us have put in over the past two years,” said Tsang on the team’s accomplishment.
Those sentiments were echoed by Catherine Blake, business advisor at BIG and the team’s coach in the BIGx Accelerator Program, which works to mentor and prepare clients to successfully seek investor funding for their business.
“The performance of team Whiskey Grail is an example of BIG’s dedication to client excellence and the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of these amazing founders,” said Blake.
Along with various in-kind services, Whiskey Grail plans to use the cash prize to use for investing in production processes and capturing a larger market share in their industry.