Pitch North awards five local entrepreneurs funding to bring their ideas to life
Five local female entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of over 50 people at the first annual Pitch North competition. They were competing for the chance to win over $8,000 in cash prizes to bring their ideas to life. The event was held Wednesday, May 8t that the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts.
Pitch North was designed to spark entrepreneurial change and encourage more small businesses to start in Newaygo, Oceana, and Lake counties. Pitch North received 20 business idea submissions, from which five finalists were selected to pitch at the live event. Each entrepreneur had five minutes to present, and judges had an opportunity to ask questions directly following.
“Every one of our finalists worked very hard to prepare for this event,” said Julie Burrell, Business Development Coordinator – Newaygo County, The Right Place, Inc. “They stepped outside of their comfort zone in an effort to move their business ideas forward, which is exactly why this event was created.”
The first place prize of $4,000 was awarded to Tara Kelley of Oceana County for The Bohemian Boutique. She will be adding a Suspended Coffees shop to her boutique.
“Winning this competition means we will continue to grow and help fill the needs of the community,” said Kelley “Standing up front holding the 1st place check meant more to me than any diploma I've received.
“It was a wonderful event and such a learning experience. I'm not a public speaker but this forced me to push beyond those limits where real change and growth happens. I've received an overwhelming response from the community, customers, friends and family, people are getting excited for some good coffee and teas coming to Shelby.”
Second place was awarded to Deanna Dickinson for her idea, Truffles and Goodies Lady, which makes waterproof purses, ID Wallet Lanyards, coin purses, etc. The third place prize went to Camelia Hollinger for Pretty Pop-ups, a provider of renovated and affordable pop-up campers.
The top three finalists will receive the following:
1st Place: Tara Kelley, The Bohemian Boutique
$4,000 + in-kind services from H&S Companies and Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law
2nd Place: Deanna Dickinson, Truffles and Goodies Lady
$2,500 + in-kind services from The Stream and Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law
3rd Place: Camelia Hollinger, Pretty Pop-Ups
$1,000 + in-kind services from Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law
The remaining two finalists, Ericka Freriks, Baking Beauty Custom Cakes and Sandra Bernard, Red Boots Kids’ Books, will each receive $500 cash prizes.
Mark Kraus, Hesperia Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism & Membership Director, Lynn Ladner, Hart City Manager, Melissa Marietti-Evans, Northern Initiatives Commercial Lender, Don Farmer, SVP Commercial Lending at Edgewater Bank, and Mike Kruitoff, Owner at Kruitoff Electric volunteered as judges for the event.
Pitch North was made possible through funding from the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance and Northern Initiatives.
For more information, visit pitchnorth.com or contact Julie Burrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231.335.1985