This is Small Business Next Generation

Spinoff Miniseries

Witness the ultimate battle of wits and innovation as entrepreneurs compete for up to $3M in prizes in one of the largest and richest intercollegiate startup competitions. Join Andrea Marquez and Mitch Gilbert as they take you behind the scenes of the Rice University Business Plan Competition and follow four teams as they prepare to pitch their business ideas in front of some of the world's leading venture capitalists and investors. Can they handle the pressure? Will their business ideas stand out? Will they have what it takes to win? Make sure you’ve got your small business playbook ready because we’ll be pointing out key learnings from each episode so you feel ready to take on the challenge of pitching your business.

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About the hosts

Andrea Marquez is a Mexican-American, and the award-winning Host and Producer of This is Small Business at Amazon. She joined Amazon to help bring additional resources and tools to aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners. She is also the creator and former host of an award-winning bilingual podcast seeking to motivate audiences to get involved with the Latinx community. Andrea holds an M.A. in Journalism and Legal Studies from Harvard University and a B.A. from Columbia University.

Andrea Marquez
Host and Senior Producer

“These competitors are on the same path of figuring it out. Having a community of entrepreneurs that can help each other out is super important in the often-lonely journey of building a business.”

Mitchella “Mitch” Gilbert is an inclusive product designer. She was a former elite athlete and Nike employee, so she is obsessed with women’s health and sportswear apparel. She attended the UCLA Anderson School of Management after earning a full scholarship to build her startup Oya Femtech Apparel. She is one of the first 200 Black women to raise over $1M in venture capital and she graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy. Oya Femtech Apparel is her fourth company.

Mitch Gilbert
Founder of OYA Femtech Apparel and ex-RBPC competitor

"I think all businesses should go through pitch competitions early on because you have to practice communicating your idea to people who don't know you. For underrepresented founders, it's even more critical because starting a business requires some form of capital."

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the podcast about?

This Is Small Business is a new podcast that pulls back the curtain on pivotal moments in the journey to success for small business owners across the U.S. Each episode focuses on the most pressing challenges small business owners have faced, and how they learned from—and conquered—them on their path to scaling up. The educational and inspirational podcast breaks down each pivotal moment into tangible, actionable takeaways, wrapped in an inspirational small business story. In addition to the small business owners and entrepreneurs, each episode also features industry experts, who will offer best practices, trend analysis, and a unique point of view.

Why did Amazon create this podcast?

As part of our ongoing commitment to support growth of small businesses in Amazon’s store and foster the next generation of brands through free education and resources, Amazon is producing This is Small Business, a podcast that unpacks a pivotal business decision in a small business owner’s journey to success. This new series will complement Amazon’s existing investments in small business education by delivering tangible, inspiring learnings on-the-go. More than half of the products sold in Amazon’s store come from small and medium-sized businesses, and we’re excited to help these small business owners tell their stories through this new podcast.

Does the podcast only feature Amazon sellers?

No, our podcast is not limited to small business owners who sell in Amazon’s store. We feature small businesses and industry experts with diverse products, business backgrounds, and industry knowledge. We are constantly on the search for inspiring stories and lessons to be learned from small business owners themselves.

What criteria do you use to select featured small business guests and experts?

We select small business guests and entrepreneurs who have real-world experience in tackling and overcoming challenges that many small business owners face when trying to launch and scale a business. Expert guests are selected based on their in-depth knowledge on the topic we address in each episode.

How do you determine which brands are small businesses?

We follow Gartner’s definition of small business, which includes businesses that employ fewer than 100 people and have less than $50 million in annual revenue.