Nancy Gerloff and Mark Augustyn, creators of Mimi and Moto, were the winners of the 2019 Motorcycle Industry Council Gas Tank Competition. Mimi and Moto are cartoon monkeys that help introduce children to the joys of the motorcycle lifestyle through books and other products.
Gerloff and Augustyn were among five finalists in the competition and mentorship program, which is open to individuals and groups, women and men ‒ anyone with a new powersport product or service idea. Selected entrants are paired with an industry mentor who offers coaching and advice on developing a business plan. Up to six finalists are chosen to pitch their ideas and exhibit at North America's largest powersports trade and consumer show, AIMExpo presented by Nationwide.
Other finalists were:
- Guillermo Cornejo of Riders Share (second place). Riders Share is a peer-to-peer business that spans the U.S., offering customers a large choice of motorcycles to rent at competitive prices.
- Anya Violet of Atwyld (runner-up). Atwyld is a company that offers products for the modern woman rider. It was created to fill a void in the market between street fashion and motorcycle gear, Violet said.
- Alexis Dudley of Flying Duchess. Dudley said her company brings a fresh approach to women's riding gear with style-driven and technically constructed pieces that are disruptive in design and refreshing in attitude.
- Roy Nolan of Gearhead Zone. Nolan is building an innovative launch platform, the Motorcycle Product Incubator, to help inventors develop, design and manufacture unique tools and powersports products.
Each entrant presented their idea and business plan to a panel of judges at an event attended by industry leaders, enthusiasts and mainstream media. Judges included Bob Althoff, dealer, A.D. Farrow Co. Harley-Davidson Family of Dealerships and CEO of Dealernews Magazine; Andrew Leisner, senior vice president, managing director Bonnier Motorcycle Media; Kim Harrison, general manager, Coleman PowerSports; and Moira Zinn, owner of PowerTrip Industries.
“Congratulations to Nancy and Mark for their win,” said Tim Buche, MIC president and CEO. “I know it was difficult for the judges to pick a winner as all five entrants had such innovative ideas and solid business plans. Truthfully, we consider all participants to be winners, as the mentorship experience and AIMExpo exposure are truly at the heart of the competition.”
“The MIC is proud to support the growth and success of the powersports business sector through our Gas Tank Competition, and we are eager to see what’s next for Mimi and Moto and all participants,” Buche said.
"Winning the 2019 Gas Tank competition was a dream come true for us and made our experience at this year's AIMExpo simply amazing," Gerloff said. "In just four days at AIMExpo, the Mimi and Moto brand took a HUGE leap forward, and winning the Gas Tank competition is the reason why. Thanks again to the MIC for the opportunity. We're excited to see where our brand goes from here, and excited to see what other success stories the Gas Tank program produces in the years to come."
“The MIC launched its Gas Tank Mentoring Program to accelerate new businesses in the powersports industry,” said Cam Arnold of MIC Programs. “Mentoring is an essential component of Gas Tank. Entrepreneurs are paired with an industry mentor who helps them build a business plan and eight-minute pitch. Mentors not only inspire participants to think big, they actively support their professional development and networking opportunities.”
Applications for the 2020 program will be available at mic.org under the MIC Programs tab. Please contact Arnold at email@example.com with questions.
Key 2020 deadlines:
- January 31: Deadline for application and “elevator pitch” video
- February 28: Selected entrants will be matched with a mentor
- June 22: Entrants must submit a business plan to Gas Tank
- July 24: Up to six finalists will be chosen to attend AIMExpo at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, Oct.1-4. The finalist prize package includes travel and lodging expenses for one person, booth space at the show, and access to powersports media
- Oct.1-4: Finalists must be able to appear in person at AIMExpo to present their business plan to an industry panel. Pitches will be evaluated on monetary growth potential, overall strategic plan, strategic partners, scalability, innovation, impact and viability, and other criteria. A first place, second place, and runner up will be announced at AIMExpo.