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WomanUp & Pitch

Business Plan and Pitch Competition

The WomanUp & Pitch Business Plan and Pitch Competition is a funding opportunity for women who wish to start or grow an existing for-profit business. Entry applications will be accepted starting in October and four virtual contests will be held in 2022. Forty total finalists will be selected, ten in each location, divided into two categories: Idea phase/Startup (in business less than 3 years and revenue less than $250,000) and Established/Growth (in business for 3 years or more and/or revenue greater than $250,000). All finalists will receive support services and technical assistance. Winners in each category at each location will be awarded cash prizes as follows:

1st Place — $10,000
2nd Place — $5,000
3rd Place — $2,500
Audience Choice — $1,000 (One winner per location)

The top forty finalists are connected to advisors, coaches and mentors who provide professional services and expert advice as the women create viable business plans and prepare to take the stage to pitch their idea to a panel of business experts and an audience of other entrepreneurs, small business owners, potential investors, and business and community leaders. The business plans, reviewed in advance of the pitch by each judge, account for 60% of the final score; the pitch accounts for 40%. Businesses must be at least 51% women-owned.

Important Dates

March 3 – West Michigan Virtual Pitch Competition*
March 10 – Mid-Michigan Virtual Pitch Competition*
March 24 – Southeast Michigan Virtual Pitch Competition*
March 31 – Statewide Food Business Pitch Competition*

*All competitions will be virtual; however, finalists will likely pitch in the region their business is located unless you are a food-based business.

Thank you to all of our 2022 WomanUp & Pitch coaches listed below!

Aline Moraes, SR Vice President, Comerica Quality Consultant
Alison Elgass, Investment Associate, Kresge Foundation
Alyse Martinelli, VP Human Resources, JACK Entertainment
Angeline Lawrence, Entrepreneurial Ed. Program Manager, Tech Town Detroit
Ann Sigsby, CEO, SRA Enterprises
Ashly Williams, Marketing Cons I, Farmers Insurance
Carla McDonald, Operations Manager, Gringras Global
Chris Arnold, Steelcase
Dawn Tylkowski, Executive VP Marketing,  Huntington Bank
Deb Kalsbeek, BE the Change
Debra VanHevele, Senior VP—Retail Regional Director, Comerica
Derrin Leppek, Director, Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Doris Drain, Senior Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer, United Bank
Ethan Powsner, VP of Technology and Market Development, Fidelity National Financial
Gricelda Mata, CEO/President, Lindo Mexico Restaurant Inc.
Ismael Abreu, Agent, Farmers Insurance
Jason Barnett, SVP Lending, Invest Detroit
Jennifer Baez, Financial Center Manager III and VP, Fifth Third Bank
Jermale Eddie, Business Partnerships Manager Amplify GR
Jessica Crosby, Delight In Designs
Jessie Hayes-Stallings, CEO, Skinphorea
Karen Brittner, Vice President, Comerica
Karen Thompson, Agency Contract Management Supervisor, Foremost Insurance
Katey Morse, Treasury Management Officer, Lake Michigan Credit Union
Kevin Ketels, President, Kyrris Marketing
Kim Nielsen, Founder and CEO, Computer Technologies, Inc
Kimle Nailer, President, Nail-Rite Construction
Laureal Carlton, Beauty Professional & Educator
Linda Brunzell, Chief Marketing Officer, Terryberry
Lutalo Sanifu, Economic Development and Civic Engagement Manager, East Jefferson Development Corp
Manuel Dipres, Head of Sales Account Management Western Europe, Amway
Marcus Jackson, Community and Economic Development Manager II, VP, Fifth Third Bank
Michael DeMartelaere, VP External Affairs, Comerica
Stephanie Naito, Vice President Talent Management, Meijer
Susan Vogel-Vanderson, Managing Director, Fifth Third Bank
Tammy Turner, Co-Owner and Founder, Kapstone Employment Services
Tawnya Rose, Community Development Manager, Fifth Third Bank
Tim Syfert, Senior Cinical Professor, GVSU Center for Entrepreneurship
Tina Kozak, CEO, Franco
Valerie Obenchain, CEO, AIRS

A formal anouncement of finalists coming soon!

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