get started star city


Pitch to Win Over $14,000 IN PRIZES

Get Started Roanoke (Star City) will highlight up to five entrepreneurs who will pitch their idea to a distinguished panel of experts.

One winner will be named to receive OVER $14,000 in prizes including a one year Cox Business technology package.

Local businesses not competing are encouraged to attend this free event for networking and learning opportunities from accomplished leaders in digital marketing, funding and business growth strategy.

Eventbrite - Get Started Roanoke (Star City) 2016

  • $5,500 in cash
  • 1 year Cox Business Service worth up to 6,500
  • Article on
  • Annual Membership with Colabs up to $1,200
  • 1 year Ascend Membership with Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce

Whether you’re a start-up or looking to grow your current business with a new idea, join us to learn from an esteemed panel of experts to turn that idea into a revenue generating success.


In our pitch competition, you’ll get the chance to win a prize package valued at over $14,000

Pitch Submissions Are Now Closed




Cox Business is bringing Get Started to Roanoke (#GetStartedStarCity) , in partnership with Inc.

  • WHEN: Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 from 5:30pm – 8:30pm
  • WHERE: The Taubman Museum of Art, 110 Salem Ave SE, Roanoke, VA 24011
  • ADMISSION: This event is FREE and open to the public but you must register to attend.

Reception and Networking
Complimentary cocktails & hors d’oeuvres at one of the best networking events you’ll attend this year! (served before and after the competition)

Registration is now open – Limited Seating – Reserve Your  Seat Now


Eventbrite - Get Started Roanoke (Star City) 2016



ken_kraft_smKen Kraft, Vice President, Cox Business Marketing – Cox Communications

Ken Kraft is vice president of marketing for Cox Business, Cox Communications’ $1.9 billion division that provides video, voice and data telecommunications services to businesses of all sizes. In this role, Kraft is responsible for segment marketing, demand generation, brand, product marketing, pricing, digital marketing, and marketing communications to accelerate new customer acquisition and customer retention.




Ed Walker, Entrepreneur, Lawyer, and Teacher

Ed Walker is the founder of Commonwealth Capital Partners LLC, Regeneration Partners, LLC, CityWorks LLC, and several other for-profit and non-profit organizations in Virginia and elsewhere. His work in the US and abroad seeks to strengthen communities through social enterprise and exploring how communities collaboratively create the interdisciplinary conditions necessary for positive transformation.

He attended the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Washington & Lee University School of Law. He served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard and as a Senior Fellow and the Gleitsman Visiting Practitioner at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. In addition to his other projects, he teaches Real Estate & Social Enterprise at Washington & Lee’s School of Law.

 maria_aspen_smMaria Aspan, Writer, Editor and Award-winning Business Journalist

Maria Aspan is a writer, editor and award-winning business journalist. As a senior editor at Inc., she runs the Money section, which includes financial and economic news for and about entrepreneurs, startups and investors. She also frequently covers news relating to technology, consumer protections, diversity and social media.

Aspan spent several years covering the financial crisis and its fallout as a banking reporter and editor. As the national editor for American Banker, she directed coverage of big banks and won multiple DzBest in Business dzawards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. In 2013, she won SABEW honors for her magazine feature writing and breaking news reporting, in addition to contributing to American Banker’s award for General Excellence.

tamea_smTamea L. Franco, President/CEO at Global Metal Finishing, Inc

Those are a few words that describe Tamea Franco. In early 1980, Tamea took up a “trade” and attended The Joseph Bulova School of Watch making in Queens, NY. The skill she gained in watch making and watch repair moved her career into repairing and making gold jewelry and diamond settings. After attending a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) program another student encouraged her to attend a creative school in Gatlinburg TN that would further feed her yearning to learn more about mechanical ingenuity and metals. That was where she discovered her new passion, an electrochemical process called anodizing. Her fascination with the process led her to open in 1987, Roanoke’s first female-owned custom metal finishing business, East West DyeCom. Singlehandedly, Tamea taught classes, attended conferences and trade shows, and through pure determination, created a market for colored aluminum products which she sold nationally.

During the first Gulf War, Tamea was approached to commercially anodize components that were being sent to Israel. This required new equipment and the understanding of a different market. In 2010, she opened Global Metal Finishing, a thriving business that is fulfilling these types of orders and requirements. She recently took the company to a higher level by achieving the Aerospace Industry Certification AS9100C. This certification was developed to ensure suppliers around the world are held to the rigorous standards demanded by aerospace companies and defense contractors and her vision continues to expand.


Jonathan Hagmaier, Technology Community Champion, Entrepreneuer

Jonathan Hagmaier, a long-time supporter and champion for the region’s technology community. Jonathan launched his first company, Interactive Achievement in 2006 to help teachers and administrators assess and improve student performance. Having worked over sixteen years in public education as a teacher and principal, he saw first-hand the need for teachers to have tools to help students stay on track and support individualized instruction.

A dynamic leader, Jonathan is known for his dedication to the core values of being Honorable, Unselfish and Generous (H.U.G.), which guide his vision in business and in life. Earlier this year, Interactive Achievement was acquired by PowerSchool Group LLC, which now allows Jonathan some much-needed rest and time to begin working on his next exciting venture.


Get Started Roanoke Sponsors




You can enter the Contest by visiting the official registration page at (the “Website”) and completing all of the required information and following all posted instructions. Contest is open only to legal residents of the Roanoke , Virginia who: (1) are at least 18 years of age; (2) are the owner, principal, or general manager of a business that is physically located within a Cox Business serviceable area. Entry Period begins 08/22/16. BY ENTERING THE CONTEST, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT (1) YOUR MATERIALS ARE NOT CONFIDENTIAL AND NO CONFIDENTIAL OR FIDUCIARY RELATIONSHIP IS INTENDED OR CREATED BY ENTERING THE CONTEST; AND (2) THE CONTEST ENTITIES MAY POSSESS OR COME TO POSSESS INFORMATION THAT IS SIMILAR OR IDENTICAL TO YOUR MATERIALS, AND YOU HEREBY AGREE THAT THE CONTEST ENTITIES MAY USE SUCH SIMILAR OR IDENTICAL INFORMATION WITHOUT LIMITATION, COMPENSATION, OR CREDIT TO YOU. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes subject to Complete Official Rules. To obtain a copy of the winner’s list or a copy of these Official Rules, send your request along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to “Cox Business Get Started Roanoke Pitch Contest” Winners/Rules, Shana Keith, Cox Communications, Inc., 1400 Lake Hearn Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319. Sponsor: Cox Communications, Inc., d/b/a Cox Business, 1400 Lake Hearn Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319.

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