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TODAY   |  March 04, 2014

‘The Profit’ star picks 2 top start-ups

In a new TODAY series called “Start Up to Success,” investor Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s “The Profit” joins TODAY to analyze some products from start-up businesses and picks two businesses hoping to strike it big.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> very much.

>>> it's week two of our ongoing series , start up to success. where small companies vie for the chance to impress millionaire marcus , cnbc's "the profit." three companies remain. marcus gave them a creative task to complete behind the scenes . now it's time to see what they've come up with. good mortganing to all of you. what was the purpose behind this task?

>> what i want people to do is think outside of the box . and see how creative they are with not a lot of time. and i want to see what they can do if they're quick on their feet. any time they're going to make a presentation to a company.

>> you gave them art supplies and they had to come up with something to enhance their product and impress you.

>> yeah.

>> let us begin. the charleston gourmet burger company. what did you come up with?

>> well, we decided to think outside the box . we wanted to come up with a grill and show our product is versatile. we do burgers and we do it well.

>> i mean, 82% of american households own a grill. and so we expect countless americans to be enjoying our all-natural, gluten-free, gourmet burger products on the grill.

>> after countless e-mails from our customers, they told us our product is so versatile. it's not just for burgers. we wanted to show, you can use it with fajitas, soups, stews.

>> let me tell you what i love about what she did. you used all the parts and pieces i gave you and told me what i can do with your product. i think you did a great job.

>> thank you.

>> thank you so much.

>> well done. okay. let's move on. we've got stay at home moms, krissy and angela and their stamping company called mama elephant. what did you come up with?

>> well, if we were to make a storage display, this is what we would make. because we are looking for what would make people think of now, which is the spring and everybody likes cake. so we have a little cake and spring flowers and spring colors. and i just also wanted to show you that stamping is just a piece of cake .

>> nice.

>> very creative. you know, the most important thing when you're taking the product to market, how it gets presented at retail. you can have a great product. but the customer doesn't notice it while walking down the aisle, they're not going to stop. i think you did a great job of putting that together.

>> thank you very much. last but not least, we've got greg and jimmy, two armadillos with their organic chickpeas. and what was the thought behind this project?

>> we wanted to make a display for our chickpea snack. greg's much better within a stethoscope than back in art class. before you can buy our snacks, you must first be able to see them.

>> better display case, and selling more snacks lets us create more american jobs like charles morton , our kitchen manager. a year ago --

>> guys, i like the product. i tasted it last week. i don't love your presentation. you didn't use all the materials i gave you. and it looks a little more homemade than some of the other ones. i don't love the presentation. i still like the product, but i don't love the presentation.

>> was this the first thing that came to mind? were there some trials and errors before this?

>> the reason we're talking about our kitchen staff is because we need to hire more people to sell our snacks. our business is growing too fast. and so we created this sign thinking outside the box so we can let people know to get in touch with us to get work.

>> i love it and i love the initiative, but i want to sell product and make money. and so although you need to hire people for work, you need to sell your product first. and i don't think you got it.

>> you're asking these people to become their own marketing people here in an instant here. in reality, won't they get to hire marketing people to handle these kinds of chores for them?

>> matt, small businesses in this country, unfortunately, can't afford to be hiring an army of people. they have to be multidimensional. they're all of those things, but i have to tell you, the charleston burger presentation, i think, for me, i like it. i like it because they told me everything about their product. they told me how to use it and what to buy. so far, that's my favorite.

>> all right. so the time has come to tell us more than who your favorite is. and i think this is a little anticlimactic based on what you said here. one of these companies goes home today and the other two continue on to the start-up --

>> you think it's anticlimactic. it's not, and here's why. people, process and product. i love the product in entirely, the presentation, i think you miss it, but we can always fix the process, and the people, the people are wonderful. but here's my challenge, you know, crissy and angela, i like your product, but it's hard for me to understand how to use it. so i'm going to give you $5,000, and i want you to go home and work on real packaging. if i like it, i'll put you in my 100 stores across the country because i think women will love, absolutely love your product if we can teach men how to use it, maybe matt and i will use it, as well.

>> they're going home ?

>> they're going home with $5,000. and they're going home with an opportunity to get in my 100 stores.

>> these folks on the end, they continue on in the process.

>> even though their packaging wasn't great, they're going to continue.

>> how do you feel about the opportunity that marcus is giving you?

>> feel really good.

>> you should feel good about what's happened. you guys have done a great job, you're working hard, the american dream and we're very proud of you. don't lever discouraged.

>> thank you.

>> and thank you all. we appreciate it. our final two will battle it out next time, next week. and you can see more from marcus on "the profit" tonight 10:00 eastern and pacific time on