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Business pitch contest to be held in Pontiac with $25,000 available in cash prizes

It’s the third annual Pitch ’N Pontiac contest and the prizes are bigger than ever.

This year’s contestants can win up to $15,000 in cash prizes in the competition, which pits entrepreneurs against each other for a total of $25,000 in cash prizes and additional pro bono consulting services. Eligible businesses must be located in Pontiac or in the process of moving to the Oakland County city.

Pitch ’N Pontiac is organized by CEED Lending and supported by Chemical Bank, Oakland County Business Finance Corporation, and Oakland County’s One Stop Shop Business Center.

"We want to make business owners aware that there are resources available to them, that they’re not in this by themselves," says CEED Lending’s Oakland County & City of Detroit Loan Officer Belinda Turner-DuBois.

"Many entrepreneurs think that they’re an island but there is a community here to help."

In addition to the city of Pontiac requirement, eligible businesses must be in the food, lifestyle, healthy living, IT, technology, or "other" industries. Non-profits, L3Cs, and franchises are ineligible to compete.

There is a July 31 deadline for applications, which are available online.

Five finalists will be announced on Friday, Aug. 10. Following that announcement, the finalists will take part in a number of pitch prep workshops, designed to help the entrepreneurs perfect their business pitches for the final event.

On Thursday, Aug. 30, the finalists will each give a five minute pitch to the audience and a panel of judges, followed by five minute Q&A sessions. There is a $10,000 first place prize in the startup category, a $10,000 first place prize in the existing business category, and, new to this year’s competition, a $5,000 people’s choice prize. The winner of the people’s choice can be one of the first place winners, bringing that prize total to $15,000.

"This is about helping to stabilize and create and welcome entrepreneurship in Pontiac," Turner-DuBois says.

More information on Pitch ’N Pontiac is available on the CEED Lending website.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

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