Salina Woman Wins Pitch Challenge

A Salina woman with a passion for sustainability won the top prize at the 3rd Annual Charlie Walker Pitch Challenge on the campus of K-State Salina Friday night. Morgan Baughman now has $6,000 to give her business “The Refillery” a jumpstart.

Competitors were given five minutes to pitch their business plan to a group of judges, like what is seen on popular shows like “Shark Tank.” The judges then asked questions and scored the businesses. At the end of the night, the scores were tabulated, and the top five finishers won cash awards.

There were eight entrepreneurs participating in the finals of the pitch challenge Friday night. Business plans ranged from Salina’s first oxygen bar, a craft business which started as a gift, an indoor golf and carnival games facility, help and support for new mothers who are breast feeding and their families, a locally owned quilt store, a mobile bar and bartending service, a hair and beauty supply business, and an eco-friendly refill business.

Baughman told KSAL News she has long had a passion for sustainability. Her startup “The Refillery” is a purveyor of non-toxic and eco friendly goods, with a mission to help in ending single-use plastics by refilling permanent use containers with natural soaps, detergents, and similar items. Her long term goal is to open up a permanent location.

Baughman says she will use her prize money to become very busy. “You will see me at all of the markets this summer, and you’ll see a lot on social media.” She concluded “hopefully everybody will see something and become interested.”

The complete list of winners includes:

  • The Refillery  – $6,000 –  Eco-Friendly Refills
  • Heartland Lactation – $4,000 – Support For New Moms and Families
  • AOT Acquistion and Consulting – $3,000 – Salina’s First Oxygen Bar
  • BeYOUthful Creations – $2,000 – Craft Business
  • Unlimited Sips – $1,000 – Mobile Bar and Bartending Service

The Entrepreneurial Challenge is named in honor of the iconic Salina businessman, Charlie Walker, who founded several companies, largest among them Salina-based Blue Beacon International (known for its truck and RV washes), and the Rolling Hills Zoo near Hedville. Walker died in 2012, but his family has continued his commitment by spearheading several civic causes in the Salina community.

This year’s pitch challenge was presented by the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce,  Bennington State Bank, and JRI Hospitality