Nearly everyone dreams of one day starting their own business. However, not everyone has the guts, grit, and goals to actually turn their dreams into real business models.
Thankfully, Quicken Loans® and the Quicken Loans Community Fund believe in supporting small businesses and giving them the tools they need to succeed. One of their most popular initiatives is Detroit Demo Day.
Detroit Demo Day was created by Quicken Loans and the Quicken Loans Community Fund to unite local businesses with residents of the Detroit community, while funding new startups.
The Quicken Loans Community Fund is known as the “philanthropic arm” of Quicken Loans. Its mission is rooted in joining for-profit business and non-profit investments while taking an active role to improve the city of Detroit through housing stability, entrepreneurship, education and employment, public space activation, and community sponsorships in the city.
On June 14, 15 emerging entrepreneurs will pitch their business plans to compete for a share of $1.2 million on stage at the Fillmore for the 3rd annual Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day.
Out of the 15 finalists, only 7 will be selected as winners to receive a share of the cash prize ranging from $50,000 to $300,000 funded by Quicken Loans.
The finalists are divided into three categories that represent the business stage each small business is at in their development – Start, Grow and Scale.
Businesses in the Start category are, as you can imagine, starting off with a new product or service that was recently released. The Grow category focuses on businesses that are already established but are looking to expand. The Scale category is for businesses that are locally successful but have goals of reaching broader markets.
Here is a list of the businesses competing in each category:
Start category: Three winners will receive up to $100,000.
- Healthy Roots– a doll and storybook company bringing diversity to the toy aisle with dolls that reflect many different features, complexions and hair textures
- Gus & Grey– a handcrafted delights and jams business inspired by Michigan farms and family memories
- EnBiologics– a veterinary burn and wound care business striving to create better wound care for pets
- Pocketnest– a financial planning and fintech app aiming for free DIY comprehensive financial planning
- Femology– Detroit’s first modern business lounge and coworking space for women
- Einstein By Design– a children’s STEAM activity center geared towards creating the next generation of thought leaders
Grow category: Three winners will receive up to $250,000.
- Detroit Body Garage– a community gym working to bring positive change and movement to the city of Detroit
- Louisiana Creole Gumbo– a Cajun restaurant carrying on a lasting legacy with deep family ties and a popular menu
- Narrow Way Cafe– a cafe that goes beyond just serving coffee by offering a stress-free environment with social and emotional support for customers
- Detroit Dough– inspired by life experiences and friendships, this cookie dough creator is looking to bring fun, safe-to-eat cookie dough to Detroit
- Sister Pie– two sisters looking to serve seasonal baked goods while influencing people, the planet, and the economy
- Eastern Market Brewing Co.– a craft brewery that serves as a community space for fellowship, fun and beer
Scale Category: One winner will receive $300,000.
- CrowdFreak– an online platform that connects musicians to gigs
- Ellis Island Tea– a homegrown hibiscus tea made from a family recipe passed down from generation to generation
- Functional Fluidics– a blood function diagnostics aiming to advance current medical technology
The competition will be hosted by two local celebrities: Angela Yee, host on the nationally syndicated morning show The Breakfast Club, and Mike Ellison, recording artist and slam poet. The evening will begin with a discussion between James Chapman, Quicken Loans Entrepreneur in Residence and Founder & CEO of Plain Sight, and Che Pope, hip-hop producer, and finish with a performance by a surprise, multiple Grammy award-winning artist.
When the competition commences, each finalist will be given 90 seconds to present their company’s successes and business model to the audience and judges.
The finalists’ pitches will be judged by a panel of successful, nationally recognized entrepreneurs including John Henry, an entrepreneur, partner at Harlem Capital Partners, and host of Hustle on VICELAND; Suzanne Shank, CEO and co-founder of Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., LLC; Jason White, chief marketing officer at Cura Cannabis Solutions; and Tony Ambroza, chief brand officer at Carhartt.
The audience will also have the opportunity to participate in the Demo Day judging. $25,000 will be awarded to one business in each category that is voted the people’s choice winner of their given category.
Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day will take place at the Fillmore on June 14, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Go to DetroitDemoDay.com for tickets and more information.