A woman speaking in front of a room, representing a pitch contest
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News Briefs Startup

Key4Women and SCORE Announce Women-Owned Business Pitch Contest Finalists

Ten Northeast Ohio start-up and existing women-owned businesses will compete for $22,000 in awards.

KeyBank‘s Key4Women program and SCORE Cleveland recently selected 10 finalists to compete in a business pitch contest for women-owned businesses (WOBs) located in Northeast Ohio.

Pitch contest finalists

The finalists came from a pool of 243 applicants. A panel of SCORE representatives served as judges. Finalists will compete in one of two categories, start-up business or existing business, with cash awards totaling $22,000. The grand prize winner will earn $10,000. Finalists include:

“The SCORE Chapters of Northeast Ohio are proud to be working with women-owned small businesses across the region and are amazed by the quality and strength of the applications we received,” said Bob Cohen, Chairman, Cleveland Chapter, SCORE. “SCORE and Key4Women share a common mission of helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve success through education and mentorship. This contest offers two critical supports for participants: mentorship and capital.”

More than a pitch contest

SCORE provided application support and mentorship to women-owned businesses throughout the application process. The company will also provide workshops and mentoring to the finalists to help them prepare their pitches.

“SCORE is such a valuable partner,” said Rachael Sampson, chair, Key4Women. “Women business owners and leaders positively impact our economy and communities in powerful ways every day, which is evident based on the strength and diversity of the applications we received. Key4Women and SCORE are committed and willing to help all those who submitted applications, finalists or not, achieve their visions and grow their businesses into thriving ventures.”

To be eligible, businesses had to be 51 percent owned, controlled, operated and managed by a woman or women. They must also have headquarters in Ashtabula, Carroll, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Harrison, Holmes, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas or Wayne counties.

The finalists will present a four-minute pitch and field questions for six minutes on October 7 at Cuyahoga Community College. Cuyahoga Community College will livestream the event, which is not open to the public.

Final awards will be chosen by a panel of five judges, which will include three local women business owners and two KeyBank bankers. Criteria used to determine winners include the quality of the presentation, clarity of business vision and mission, economic impact of the idea and the soundness of value proposition.

About SCORE Cleveland

Since 1964, SCORE has helped 11 million entrepreneurs to start or grow a business. SCORE’s 10,000 volunteers provide free mentoring, workshops and educational services to 1,500+ communities nationwide, creating 45,027 new businesses and 74,535 non-owner jobs in 2020 alone. Visit SCORE at www.score.org. Follow @SCOREMentors on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn

About Key4Women

Key4Women started in 2005 as a campaign to lend $1 billion to qualified women-owned businesses within three years. The program achieved that in two years and has now generated more than $12 billion in loans to women-owned businesses. Membership in Key4Women is free. In addition to helping women business leaders and owners tap into capital to build and grow their businesses, Key4Women members gain valuable access to a team of local Certified Key4Women Advisors who advocate, connect and empower women on their journey to financial wellness.