WCC's inaugural Start-Up Week to feature pitch competition and entrepreneurship workshops

Washtenaw Community College’s (WCC) Entrepreneurship Center will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year by expanding its Pitch@WCC competition to include four days of free entrepreneurship activities and educational opportunities. Start-Up Week at WCC runs May 6-9, with the Pitch competition set for May 8-9.

WCC Entrepreneurship Center Director Michelle Julet says that this year's Pitch competition will bring new competition categories, including categories for skilled trades, the arts, and returning citizens. She says the new categories are “really reflective of the kinds of entrepreneurs that we’re seeing in the community."

Juliet is particularly excited that all Pitch finalists this year will be automatically accepted into the Entrepreneurship Center’s Start-Up Incubator, which offers current and new small business owners educational and networking opportunities to launch or expand their businesses. 

“We know from research that’s done with entrepreneurs that they’re most successful if they're from a family of entrepreneurs, or if they’re in community with other entrepreneurs, and we want to help create those environments where entrepreneurs will be successful," she says.

In an effort to continue fostering that positive entrepreneurial environment, Start-Up Incubator participant and Ypsilanti-based food truck The Corned Beef Queen will be present on day one of the competition to sell food to attendees. Julet says that continuing to support entrepreneurs who launch businesses from the program is one of the center’s primary goals. 
“We have a goal with the incubator of business owners creating economic development within our own community,” Julet says. “The continuous relationship with entrepreneurs is really neat.”

In addition to the competition, Start-Up Week will offer a variety of mini-workshops hosted by representatives from companies such as Chase Bank, Google, and SensCy, as well as networking opportunities. Another new offering will be a free theatrical storytelling performance “offering a thought-provoking discussion on entrepreneurship and the experiences that shape entrepreneurs,” according to a release from WCC.

“It’s the first time we’ve done something in this context but we’re very excited for it,” Julet says. “It’s very much like an entrepreneurial endeavor on our part.”

Advanced registration for Start-Up Week workshops is recommended. Those interested can register here. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit the Entrepreneurship Center’s website

Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.

Photo by JD Scott.
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