Out of the hundreds of impressive applications received and vetted, 15 finalists have emerged as the Detroit entrepreneurs who will pitch their businesses on stage at The Fillmore for Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day on June 14. Seven of the entrepreneurs will receive a share of $1.2 million in funding from Quicken Loans. The finalists’ pitches will be judged, and the winners decided, by nationally acclaimed entrepreneurs from across the country.
A judging panel of 12 local business leaders from diverse industries had the difficult role of selecting these 15 highly driven Detroit entrepreneurs. The finalists have businesses that were deemed the most likely to succeed thanks to their competitive advantage in their field and their skilled leadership team.
The winners are divided into three categories: Start, Grow and Scale. Businesses in the Start category have recently introduced a product or service to market. The Grow category is for companies that are more established and are trying to expand locally. Those in the Scale category have already achieved local success and are working to expand into new markets.
All funding will be provided as grants, interest-free loans or equity investments, depending on the category. The following companies will compete for the funding:
Start Category: Three winners receive up to $100,000
- Healthy Roots– Doll and storybook company
- Gus & Grey– Handcrafted delights and jams
- EnBiologics– Veterinary burn and wound care
- Pocketnest– Financial planning fintech
- Femology– Lounge/coworking space for women
- Einstein By Design– Children’s STEAM activity center
Grow Category: Three winners receive up to $250,000
- Detroit Body Garage– Community gym
- Louisiana Creole Gumbo– Cajun restaurant
- Narrow Way Cafe– Stress-free café
- Detroit Dough– Cookie dough creator
- Sister Pie– Seasonal baked goods
- Eastern Market Brewing Co.– Craft brewery
Scale Category: One winner receives $300,000
- CrowdFreak– Platform linking musicians and gigs
- Ellis Island Tea– Homegrown hibiscus tea
- Functional Fluidics– Blood function diagnostics
The Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day audience will again take an active role in the competition, voting on an additional $25,000 grant to be awarded to one people’s choice winner in each category.
“This competition provides a unique opportunity to support and celebrate the small businesses that serve as the cornerstones of Detroit, creating jobs and wealth for the entire community,” says James Chapman, Entrepreneur in Residence for the Quicken Loans Community Fund. “Detroit would not be the city it is without entrepreneurs like the ones you will see on stage at Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day. This city was founded by entrepreneurs, and its next chapter will be written by them.”
The evening’s competition will be hosted by Angela Yee, a host on the nationally syndicated morning show The Breakfast Club, and Mike Ellison, a recording artist, slam poet and yearly Detroit Concert of Colors participant. To kick off the evening, the 3rd Annual Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day will feature a discussion between James Chapman and Che Pope, a Grammy Award-winning American hip-hop producer and the former president of G.O.O.D. Music.
Once the pitching is underway, the entrepreneurs will have 90 seconds each to present their companies’ successes and growth strategies to the panel of judges made up of nationally-acclaimed entrepreneurs. This year’s panel includes John Henry, an entrepreneur and partner at Harlem Capital who hosts Hustle on Viceland, Suzanne Shank, CEO of Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., Jason White, chief marketing officer at Cura Cannabis Solutions and Tony Ambroza, chief brand officer at Carhartt.
The event will wrap up with an exclusive performance by a multiple Grammy Award-winning recording artist.
Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day, at the Fillmore Detroit, will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 14, 2019. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are still available at DetroitDemoDay.com.
The 3rd Annual Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day serves as the kick-off of Techstars Startup Week Detroit powered by Quicken Loans, June 14-21, which aims to increase awareness around the local startup community. More details are available at DetroitStartupWeek.com.
Detroit Demo Day is another opportunity for Quicken Loans, in conjunction with the Quicken Loans Community Fund, to exercise its conviction that Detroit’s resurgence can only be achieved when businesses and residents take every opportunity to lift each other up, and to also provide promising startups the ability to do the same. Since 2010, Quicken Loans has directly contributed more than $200 million to organizations and programming in Detroit through its philanthropic arm, the Quicken Loans Community Fund. Additionally, the company’s team members have tallied more than 350,000 hours of volunteer service in its hometown city of Detroit.