The field of more than 500 Detroit business owners who applied to pitch at Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day has been narrowed down to 15 finalists, all set to take the stage at Detroit Music Hall on June 22. The 15 finalists were chosen by a panel of 12 local business leaders from a wide variety of industries. These entrepreneurs were selected because of the viability of their businesses, their ability to scale, their competitive advantage and the skills of their leadership team. The finalists’ pitches will be judged, and the winners decided, by nationally recognized entrepreneurs from across the country.
The seven winning companies from three categories – Start, Grow and Scale – will receive a total of $1.2 million in funding from Quicken Loans. The Start Category is for companies that have recently introduced a product or service to market. Businesses in the Grow Category are more established and are trying to expand locally. The companies in the Scale Category, on the other hand, have achieved local success and are ready to expand into other markets. The capital will be provided as grants, interest-free loans and convertible notes – depending on the category.
The following companies will compete for the funding:
Start Category: Three winners receive up $100,000
- Bloomscape – Living room-ready potted plant delivery
- Lush Yummies – Pies with local ingredients and classic recipes
- Plum Health – Direct primary care health care services
- Reilly Craft Creamery – Made-from-scratch soft serve ice cream
- The Fangage – Provides digital autographs to fans’ photos
- Yum Village – Afro-Caribbean Cuisine food truck
Grow Category: Three winners receive up to $250,000
- AccelerateKID – K-8 tech education focused on the STEAM fields
- Building Hugger – Woman-owned preservation company specializing in historic window restoration
- Cynt-Sational Popcorn – Locally sourced, vegan air popped popcorn
- Detroit Denim – U.S.-sourced, Detroit made, jeans and apparel
- Tait Design – Toy and home accessories design company
- The TEN Nail Bar – Modern nail bar
Scale Category: One winner receives $300,000
- House of Pure Vin – Downtown Detroit wine shop
- Michigan Farm to Freezer – Michigan-grown food that is frozen and distributed
- Rebel Nell – Graffiti jewelry that empowers women in Detroit
An additional $25,000 grant will be awarded to one people’s choice winner in each category, as decided by audience vote.
“This is the biggest opportunity of the year for Detroiters to come out and celebrate some of the city’s best and brightest entrepreneurs,” said James Chapman, Director of Entrepreneurship for the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund (QLCIF). “These businesses are the life-blood of Detroit – their success will have a huge multiplier effect that will impact the community as a whole, creating more job opportunities for Detroiters.”
As an introduction to the pitch competition, Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day will kick off with James Chapman interviewing Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert. The conversation will focus on some of the lessons learned in 33 years of building a business from a three-person office to becoming the nation’s largest mortgage lender.
The competition will then get started with the leaders of 15 of the best businesses in Detroit presenting their companies, successes and growth strategies to the panel of judges made up of nationally recognized entrepreneurs. The judges include Charles Adler, the co-founder of Kickstarter; Ron Bartell, Former Detroit Lion and founder of Kuzzos Chicken & Waffles and Anne Sempowski Ward, Detroit native and CEO of CURiO brands.
Since no business can survive without a vibrant community surrounding it, Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day also has a community component that will award a total of $150,000 to five organizations focused on youth entrepreneurship. One student from each organization will pitch their business idea and the audience will select the winners.
The event will wrap up with a special performance by a Grammy Award-winning Def Jam recording artist.
This entrepreneurship contest takes place during Techstars Startup Week Detroit, which aims to increase awareness around the local startup community and the opportunities available to get involved. More details are available at DetroitStartupWeek.com.
Detroit Demo Day is a key component of QLCIF’s larger philanthropic strategy to invest in housing stability, entrepreneurship, education and workforce development, public space activation and community sponsorship in Detroit. Through its for-more-than-profit model, QLCIF brings together for-profit businesses and non-profit investments. The team is dedicated to investing alongside community partners to build financial, social, and racial equity throughout Detroit and all of the Rock Family of Companies’ home cities.
For more information and company news visit QuickenLoans.com/press-room.
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