Pitch Ypsi competition doubles prizes, responds to community feedback by changing event structure

Organizers of Pitch Ypsi have responded to community feedback on their business pitch competition by creating three tiers of competition and doubling the prize money they'll offer this year.


Pitch competition co-chair Cheranissa Roach says there were "hurt feelings" in the past due to the way the competition was structured, with solo entrepreneurs competing in the same category as already-established small businesses. The organizational committee moved to address that feedback by creating three tiers of competition: Idea, Launch, and Grow, inspired by the Pitch@WCC competition.


"We tried to make it so that it was more fair, because if you have a company with a $100,000 budget and another with $3,000 or a million or bigger, they're different," Roach says.


She says organizers wanted to encourage entrepreneurs who have a good idea that could revolutionize their industry but don't have a business plan written.


Eligibility requirements have also been altered so that participants must live in the 48198 or 48197 ZIP codes or be active students at Washtenaw Community College or Eastern Michigan University (EMU).


Winners in each tier of the competition will receive $2,500 each, with an additional grand prize of $2,500 going to one winner for a total of $10,000 in prize money. Additionally, the grand prize winner will receive $5,000 in legal services from competition sponsor Varnum Law and other in-kind prizes.


The audience at the pitch competition outgrew its previous space at EMU. This year it will be hosted at the new coworking space Back Office Studio, 13 N. Washington St. in Ypsi, which has room for about 100.


The competition is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 5 at Back Office Studio. Applications to pitch are due Nov. 14 at https://www.pitchypsi2018.com/.


Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the interim project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She has served as innovation and jobs/development news writer for Concentrate since early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to Driven. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.


Image courtesy of Pitch Ypsi.

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