Cynthia Kankeu on Pitch Night SuccessMay 2, 2022
Cynthia Kankeu, the owner of Kank’s Store, wowed the judges at the Tom Tom Festival’s 9th Annual Crowdfunded Pitch Night, winning the Grand Prize! Please read below for Cynthia’s remarks as she shares her story leading up to – and through Pitch Night:
I was excited when I got selected to be a finalist because it meant that my work was being validated by experts who are used to working with entrepreneurs. As I wrote in my application, I wanted some good news that would motivate me and help me keep pushing. The last two months have been very stressful for me because of inflation. I did not want to raise the price of my products so I have been cutting expenses and ended up doing so much alone. When I received the email stating that I was selected, it brought so much joy.
However, when I looked at the profile of the other entrepreneurs selected and saw so many of them being social entrepreneurs I felt like I did not fit in and did not even deserve to be there. I started to question whether my company had a social impact as strong as someone who helps prisoners for instance. Not to mention the fact that Ms. Carolyn works with prisoners and this is something I always wanted to do so I was so happy to see that someone else is already doing it and secretly wanted her to win.
When we had the pitch prep meeting with the other entrepreneurs and the CIC team, I told them that I did not feel like I fit in the competition and they all told me that this was not true, it really helped me feel confident again.
I was inspired by the other entrepreneurs that day and realized that we all have our journeys and we all share the same struggles as small business owners. I saw the competition as a way for me to expand my network and to learn from more experienced entrepreneurs.
It was not even about winning the prize, but about learning new things that will help my business and also help my community.
Winning the Grand Prize made me realize that my journey is also the journey of so many other women and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to share it. Sometimes, we feel like we should always be strong, but I am glad to see that being vulnerable sometimes can not be associated with being weak.
I shared some vulnerable moments of my life and I am glad I did because young women came to me on Pitch Night and expressed how they could relate to what I have been through.
It was an amazing night and I am so glad I had a chance to participate in it.
About Kank’s Store
Kank’s Store, a Cameroonian brand owned by Cynthia Kankeu, manufactures natural cosmetics with real, natural, and fresh ingredients such as Okra, Aloe Vera, Honey, Hibiscus, and several other herbs, offering a variety of hair products (such as shampoo bar, solid conditioners, creams, leave-in) geared towards people struggling with dry, dull, and brittle hair, whether they have straight or curly hair. They also recently launched a skincare line of products geared towards people struggling with dry skin.