WomanUp Programs

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 contests will be held in March 2023. 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.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Business located in Michigan
  • At least 51% woman-owned
  • For-profit business
  • Finalists who have pitched in previous WomanUp & Pitch competitions cannot apply with the same business

Important Dates

October 14 – Application Process Opens (2-page concept paper and $20 application fee)

October 25 – WomanUp & Pitch information session, Noon (Register)

November 2 – WomanUp & Pitch information session, 9:00AM (Register)

November 11 @ 12:00PM – Application Process Closes (Note: Deadline has been extended to Nov. 11)

January 10 – 14 – Virtual Pitch Preparation Workshops (mandatory for all finalists)
West Michigan & Mid-Michigan Finalists
January 11, 4-6PM & January 12, 4-6:30PM
Southeast Michigan & Food Competition Finalists
January 9, 10:00AM-Noon, January 11, choose one hour between 8:00AM-Noon & January 13, choose one hour between 10:00AM-Noon

March 2 – West Michigan Virtual Pitch Competition*

March 9 – Mid-Michigan Virtual Pitch Competition*

March 23 – Southeast Michigan Virtual Pitch Competition*

March 30 – Statewide Food Competition**

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

**Competition will be in person in the Detroit area. If selected, finalists agree to attend in person and provide 60-70 food samples for attendees.

For questions regarding the application process or competition, please contact microloan@miwf.org or call 313.771.3514.


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