If you had four minutes to deliver your business pitch to six judges in a room filled with over 200 people for a chance to win over $15,000 for your new business, would you take the opportunity? On Monday, November 20th, ten new businesses took to the stage at Beards Brewery in Petoskey to do just that- explain their new business in four minutes and potentially walk away with thousands of dollars to assist in getting their startup off the ground.
The Grand Event was hosted by Northern Lakes Economic Alliance and sponsored by Consumers Energy and DTE Energy Foundation. This event was the result after two previous pitch events took place in the region- GreenLight East Jordan and Invest Cheboygan. The top two competitors from each received automatic bids to the Grand Event and six other businesses from around the region filled the wildcard spots.
The ten finalists were 221 Main Street, Adventure Sports North, CK Innovate, Explore Cheboygan Land & Water Adventures, Hops-N-Props Boat Works, Michigan Invoice Solutions, Northern Michigan Drum Village, South Arm Market, The Queens Head, and Urban Bird & Company. These new businesses went through a coaching session a week prior to the Grand Event and had their presentations reviewed by Sharon Schappacher from the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE) and Tom Erhart from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). This coaching session ensured that each business put their best foot forward on the night of the event.
On November 20th, after all the pitches took place, the judges selected first, second, third place, and the audience voted for the People’s Choice Award. The People’s Choice Award ($2,000) and Third Place ($3,000) went to Urban Bird & Company- a ladies clothing store located in Cheboygan. Second Place ($5,000) went to Adventure Sports North- an annual adventure race that aims to showcase local natural beauty, attract people and businesses to East Jordan and promote a healthy lifestyle. The Grand Prize winner went to South Arm Market ($15,000) – a delicatessen that sells locally grown meats and area goods, while serving gourmet sandwiches, pizzas, salads, and seasonal soups.
This was a great event for the region and we are greatly looking forward to 2018. For more information on the event or to see pictures, please visit www.northernlakes.net.