WCC pitch competition for young startups returns with new categories and more entrepreneur support

The Entrepreneurship Center at Washtenaw Community College will mark its 10th anniversary by introducing three new categories in its annual Pitch@WCC competition. The new categories will recognize early-stage business owners in arts and skilled trades, as well as businesses owned by returning citizens.

Pitch@WCC invites early-stage business owners to submit short videos describing their businesses. Finalists, who are selected across seven categories, go on to receive coaching from the Entrepreneurship Center before participating in a final pitch competition in May.
Finalists receive coaching in both one-on-one and group sessions. Entrepreneurship Center Director Michelle Julet says the group sessions can be particularly valuable as participants can hear about their colleagues’ businesses "while they’re off the hot seat, if you will."
In addition, all finalists are automatically accepted into the Entrepreneurship Center’s new Incubator Program, a two-year program that "walks [participants] through all of the stages of creating a business," according to Julet. The Incubator Program also provides mentorship, training, and other resources.
Julet urges all interested parties to apply to Pitch@WCC and to contact her staff for guidance. Since Entrepreneurship Center staff are not involved in judging the competition, "we're there to help every single person that comes into our location," Julet says.
No prior business experience or training is necessary, and anyone local to the Washtenaw County region who has not previously won the competition is eligible to enter.
"We want to really encourage people to take advantage of our services," Julet says.
She offers the following advice to participants: "Put aside your fear. Go for it. Think big, but focus on what problem your business is trying to solve, and why you are uniquely positioned to solve that problem."

For more information or to apply to the competition, click here.

Natalia Holtzman is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, The Millions, and others.

Photo courtesy of WCC and JD Scott Photography.
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