MWF launches pitch competition – Grand Rapids Business Journal

Alexis Dishman. Courtesy Michigan Women Forward

Aspiring women entrepreneurs can compete for $200-$8,450 in cash prizes just for pitching an idea.

Michigan Women Forward on Monday, Aug. 1, began accepting submissions for its 2022 53 Voices pitch competition.

Fifth Third Bank is sponsoring the pitch competition.

“More economic opportunity for local entrepreneurs supports a stronger community,” said Tawnya Rose, vice president and community development manager at Fifth Third Bank. “The 53 Voices pitch challenge is the perfect example of Fifth Third Bank’s commitment to improving lives through financial education and freedom.”

The competition is open only to women currently living in Michigan. The application process is ongoing through Aug. 17.

Applicants are asked to submit their idea as a voice recording. No business background or higher education is necessary. Women who already own a business may pitch an idea that modifies the existing business. The verbal pitch can be up to 53 seconds in length. The applicant must also submit a paper explaining the concept. Detailed rules of the competition can be found here.

A group of judges will review the first round of concept papers and voice pitches and select 53 top applicants, who will receive $200 and must attend three training workshops to progress in the competition.

Judges will then select 10 finalists who must submit a 53-second video to receive $750. The videos will be voted on by the community, and the top three will receive cash prizes of $7,500, $5,000 and $2,500 respectively.

The winner of the 53 Voices pitch challenge will be announced on Oct. 18

“The 53 Voices pitch challenge was created to help women and girls reach their full potential, and allow their voices to be heard,” said Alexis Dishman, chief lending officer at Michigan Women Forward.

Michigan Women Forward was founded in 1986 to encourage women to play an active role in philanthropy and governance. Its mission is to expand economic opportunity for women and entrepreneurs of color, empower the next generation, and celebrate and honor the accomplishments of Michigan women.

More information is here.

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