Pickle lovers, dog treat bakers, oyster shuckers and more took the stage this week at the Strand Theatre in Oak Bluffs for Pitch Perfect, a business pitch competition hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce.

Modeled after the ABC reality TV show Shark Tank, eight Island entrepreneurs gave three-minute proposals explaining their business ideas and how they would use the $10,000 grand prize money to a panel of three judges. The judges had two minutes to ask follow-up questions and 15 minutes at the end of the pitches to select the top three contestants.

Guinevere Cramer, Chamber of Commerce membership and events manager, hosted the event Wednesday evening.

Engler family takes second prize for COAD phone app. — Ray Ewing

The $10,000 grand prize was awarded at the end of the night to Del Araujo of Aquila, a cafe located in Aquinnah. The announcement sent a roar through the room and prompted a standing ovation from his friends and family. Mr. Araujo is a member of Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head and was seeking money for a new observation deck for his shop overlooking the Gay Head cliffs.

The deck will feature art from Native American and local artists and host live music and other small-scale events, he said during his pitch.

“This business is truly my passion,” he told the judges. “Being a member of the tribe and owning a business in Aquinnah is something that feels truly out of a dream.”

The evening began with Edie and Henry Prescott presenting their three-month-old business MV Barkery. The mother/son team bakes gourmet dog treats out of their home in West Tisbury and were hoping to purchase new kitchen supplies, hire employees and officially buy the MV Barkery name. Mr. Prescott has autism, and Ms. Prescott explained that they plan on employing mostly people with disabilities and that 10 per cent of their proceeds go to Island Autism.

“As I thought about meaningful employment for Henry after he ages out of the educational system next year, I thought that a dog bakery would be something fun and creative that we can do together,” she said.

Third place went to Edie and Henry Prescott of MV Barkery. — Ray Ewing

MV Barkery currently sells products out of Mocha Motts in Vineyard Haven and Lo Adoro Market in Sandwich, Ma. They hope to have their own storefront in the future.

Next up was Island conservationist Mike Whittemore who presented his landscape architecture company Rewild Ecological Designs. He encourages at-home conservation by removing invasive species and restoring native plants at residential properties.

Mr. Whittemore was followed by oyster aficionado Job Deforest with his oyster education and catering business SPATROXS, and Larysa Trafas and John LaMagna, who started a pickling business called Get Pickled on the Vineyard.

Mr. Araujo came next in the order, pitching the new deck for Aquila, and Brad Tucker, Liz Ragone and Elizabeth Sheldon who founded Radio Farm in West Tisbury followed. They were hoping to expand their agritourism opportunities to year-round and develop a website.

Bill and Owen Engler presented their family’s invention COAD, which stands for Community Adherence and is a phone app and Bluetooth-connected pill case designed to help people remember to take their medications. The father/son team hatched the idea when Bill Engler was diagnosed with heart disease and frequently forgot to take his prescription pills.

Host of the evening Guinevere Cramer. — Ray Ewing

“There are millions of people like me,” he said. “More than 151 million people take prescriptions in this country every day, yet three out of four regularly forget.”

When the app and pill box are linked, the app can sense if the box hasn’t been opened and sends reminder notifications. COAD will be tested this summer by the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the Englers said, and were hoping to secure funding to finish making the pill boxes.

Scott Mullin and Caitlin Lewis, who founded Queer Hub MV, a nonprofit that works with local organizations to help raise both social and educational awareness for the LGBTQIA+ community on the Island. The organization's was to pitch was for website development and to secure more transportation for year-round events.

After deliberating, the judges and Chamber of Commerce executive director Carolina Cooney welcomed all eight groups to the stage and congratulated them for their hard work. The contestants had been practicing all month and many sought coaching from chamber members to refine their pitches.

The second place prize of $5,000 went to Bill and Owen Engler for COAD, and a third prize grant of $2,500 went to Edie and Henry Prescott of MV Barkery.

Judge Tim Brown commended the Engler family’s ability to take a traumatic experience and turn it into a viable solution for people across the Island and the country.

Judge Mark Hutker felt MV Barkery had talented leaders.

“We all felt that Edie and Henry have what it takes to actually do this and pull it off,” he said. “It seems wonderfully appropriate for Martha’s Vineyard.”

Judge Krista Pappas echoed the crowd’s appreciation for winner Del Araujo’s vision.

“We really collectively thought that your passion to build this business that is obviously needed up Island, and a place where people can meet and greet and have a cup of coffee is great,” she said.

“We’ve got [the deck] fully designed,” said Mr. Araujo. “We’re ready to rock.”