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COMPETITION ASKS ENTREPRENEURS TO PITCH THEIR DREAM BUSINESS IDEA - MLive, by Isis Simpson-Mersha
July 10, 2018

MLive

BAY CITY, MI -- Entrepreneurs and business owners are being encouraged to pitch their dream business idea to participate in a local competition like the reality show "Shark Tank."

A Bay City based business competition called "Pitch a Dream" is accepting applications until Wednesday, July 11, from anyone who has a business idea or dream to expand their business. Those interested can submit an application here.

There will be several winners of the competition but the top winner will be awarded with $25,000 in cash and prizes, office space, and legal advice, said Christopher Girard, event organizer.

So far, $35,000 in prizes and in-kind donations have been committed from sponsors.

"The winner won't just get cash directly, so they'll be working with (Central Michigan University Research Corp.) to help make their business come into fruition," Girard said.

Applicants must be an early-stage company based in Bay County, have less than $1 million private sector investments and less than $2.5 million revenue in the last 12 months. The applicants must agree to complete the program and adhere to the timeline, according to the organization's flyer.

The reality TV series "Shark Tank" helps budding entrepreneurs make their business dreams a reality, if the pitch or business is good enough. The "Pitch a Dream" competition will be similar, however, entrepreneurs will get help along the way.

"We're going to help walk them through the process until the final pitch day," Girard said. "So, our goal is to spur economic growth and get some people excited about entrepreneurship in the Bay area and the Great Lakes Bay Region."

Preliminary rounds for pitches take place at Central Michigan University Research Center at Uptown Bay City before the competition on Thursday, November 1, at the State Theatre.

Event organizers are hoping to get 30-40 competitors signed up. So far, they only have six.

Leading up to the final pitch day or competition, participants will work with sponsors (CMURC) the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, and Bay Future to help develop their pitch.

Girard said youth will also have the opportunity to compete with a kid's pitch category as part of the competition.

"We're going to partner with Saginaw Valley State University and kind of take entrepreneurship through the Bay County School District to give some prize money away to some schools that develop entrepreneurship programs," said Girard.

Details for the youth pitch are still being ironed out, he said.

"No idea is too small. We want entrepreneurs of all levels to submit something whether they believe in himself or not," Girard said. " We want to help them believe in themselves and get something to actual fruition and start either making products or help to innovate the Bay."