Lowe’s launches competition for entrepreneurs inspired by “Shark Tank”

Lowe’s launches competition for entrepreneurs inspired by “Shark Tank”

Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

Lowe’s is launching an entrepreneur competition in which small businesses can pitch product ideas and have their items displayed in Lowe’s stores and online.

Why it matters: This is a way for Lowe’s to support independent entrepreneurs who may not have the opportunity otherwise to get in front of a big-box retailer, the Mooresville company says. It’s also a way for Lowe’s to tap into creative ideas and products it might not have noticed.

  • Into the Blue, as the competition is called is sort of like a “Shark Tank” competition for the home improvement sector, says Sarah Dodd, senior vice president of global merchandising at Lowe’s.

“It’s our continuous desire to bring the new and different to our customers to help them meet their needs. Sometimes that might come from smaller businesses or folks who haven’t had the opportunity to pitch to a big retailer,” Dodd tells Axios. “If you’re not intentional about finding new products you may miss out.” 

How it works: From July 26 through Aug. 14, businesses of all sizes around the world can enter by sharing their ready-for-market products and ideas at Lowes.com/Suppliers. Select businesses will be invited to pitch directly to Lowe’s executives Nov. 2-3 at the new Lowe’s Tech Hub in South End.

  • Of note: Out-of-town entrepreneurs will pay for their own travel expenses.
  • Lowe’s plans to spend $5 million on purchase orders from the pitch event.
  • Lowe’s will notify prospective suppliers by early September that they’ve been selected to attend.

The big picture: This is the fist live pitch event Lowe’s has ever hosted, Dodd says.

What’s next: The new Lowe’s tech hub will open this fall. This will be the first large planned event for the new space, per Dodd.

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