Start-Ups Compete For Funding in Michigan Women Forward’s WomanUp & Pitch Competition

PRESS RELEASE — On Thursday, Nov. 7, 8 woman-owned
businesses will go head-to-head in a pitch competition from 9 a.m. to noon at Grand Valley State University’s L. William Seidman Center, 50 Front St., SW, Grand Rapids. The public event is sponsored by Michigan Women Forward with support from the Consumers Energy Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, Huntington, Independent Bank and PNC Bank. The participating companies, divided into lifestyle and growth companies, have been narrowed down from an initial field of over 160 applicants.

The finalists are:
LIFESTYLE
• Stingray Advisory Group, Grand Rapids
• The Matriculadies, LLC, Grand Rapids
• Happy Cat Café, Grand Rapids
• The Oven Mitt Bakery, Holland
GROWTH
• Lee Angel’s Garments & Manufacturing, Westland
• Coffee + Tea + Me, Grand Rapids
• Root Functional Medicine, Grand Rapids
• Kboose, Grand Rapids

All finalists 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)
Similar competitions are scheduled for Jackson on Nov. 13 and Detroit on Nov. 19.

“Consumers Energy is dedicated to ensuring Michigan businesses and communities are growing and thriving, and that includes creating opportunities for entrepreneurs who can bring critical new ideas to the table,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “The Woman Up Pitch Competitions illustrate the diversity that exists in Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. When these businesses can thrive, we all win.”

“We are proud to bring this opportunity to Detroit, Jackson and Grand Rapids again this year,” said Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO of Michigan Women Forward. “This influx of capital can make a real difference to our winners as they start or grow their businesses.”

Since 2014, MWF has loaned $3,433,689 to 141 businesses, in addition to 97 pitch competition prizes and investments totaling $468,400. The Consumers Energy Foundation continues to be a pillar sponsor for Michigan Women Forward’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative.

The session is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. For information, visit miwf.org.

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