Providing resources for communities and entrepreneurs to create and retain jobs in Antrim, Charlevoix & Cheboygan Counties.

NLEA 2019 Grand Event awards three businesses a share of $18,000 in startup capital


NLEA 2019 Grand Event awards three businesses a share of $18,000 in startup capital

$55, 500 in startup capital awarded, 650 attended, and 19 business pitches competed as a result of three Northern Michigan Pitch Night competitions

(From left back) Grand Event Contestants: Terry & Laurie Musclow-Secrets on Main, Carson Rubis & Melissa Zelenak-Sunshine Recycling, Audrey Hartzel & Marissa Griffore-A&M Beauty, Dan & Melanie Bennett-Breezeway Paddlesports, Matt Whitener-Northland Brewing, Ben Kurth-Kurth Robotics; (Front from left) Grand Event Judges: Tim Petrosky-Consumers Energy, Nora Balgoyen-ITC, Carla Gribbs-DTE Energy, Adam Koivisto-MSU Extension, Sara Darooge-Darooge Accounting.

Nov. 21, 2019—BOYNE FALLS (MI) – Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) awarded a share of $18,000 in startup capital to three well-deserving entrepreneurs at the Grand Event Business Model Competition held at Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls, MI. The top three winners from Invest Cheboygan County and Antrim Pitch Night Business Model Competitions went on to the regional Grand Event to compete for their share of an additional $18,000 in startup capital.

A&M Beauty (Mancelona, MI), owned by Audrey Hartzel & Marissa Griffore, took home the grand prize of $10,000 as well as the People’s Choice Award of $500. With their additional funds won at Antrim Pitch Night, Hartzel and Griffore plan to purchase a beauty bus to provide better on-site hair and makeup services to their wedding and event clients.

The second-place prize of $5,000 was awarded to Matt Whitener of Northland Brewing (Indian River, MI), and Dan & Melanie Bennett of Breezeway Paddlesports (Ellsworth, MI), were awarded third place winnings of $2,500.

Between all three competitions, there were 31 very good applicants that were narrowed down to the 19 County-level contestants. Each of these businesses deserves congratulations for having the courage to pitch their business and put themselves out there. The connections made through these competitions will help each of these businesses successfully launch.

“Congratulations to all of the winners and participants of the Grand Event. It is so gratifying to share in the excitement and success of these local entrepreneurs. Many thanks and appreciation to the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance Team for their great work on the event,” said Mary Faculak, Executive Director of East Jordan Chamber of Commerce. “A sincere thank you to the many generous sponsors from throughout the region for their financial support, commitment and belief in our northern Michigan businesses.”

“Northern Michigan Pitch Night really is a wonderful and exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs. We saw 36 business launches as a result of last year’s competitions, and this year we’ll see 19 business launches,” said Andy Hayes, President of Northern Lakes Economic Alliance. “The goal of the Northern Michigan Pitch Night program is to help each of these businesses launch and work through their challenges to have successful businesses in the long term.”

The Grand Event was made possible through the generous support of the following sponsors: Consumers Energy, DTE Energy Foundation, ITC Holdings, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, and Boyne Mountain.

Find photos from this event and more information here.

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