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Pocketnest Wins Women Up Competition in Detroit

Updated: May 6, 2022

Pocketnest wins $10,000 and top honors at the Woman Up & Pitch Competition in Detroit

This article is referenced from Crain's Detroit Business. For more information please visit their website.

Jessica Willis accepts $10K check from competition host
  • Competitions will take place in Detroit, Jackson and Grand Rapids

  • A total of $108,000 will be awarded across the state

  • Detroit-based nonprofit Michigan Women Forward and Consumers Energy Foundation back program

PocketNest and Jo's Gallery 2 each won $10,000 and top honors Wednesday night at the Woman Up & Pitch Competition in Detroit.

Ten women entrepreneurs based in Southeast Michigan pitched everything from potato leek soup to financial advice for cash and support services in the second iteration of the event at NextEnergy in Detroit, sponsored by Michigan Women Forward with support from the Consumers Energy Foundation.

Garnette Archer won in the lifestyle category for her second-generation art gallery on Livernois in Detroit. Second place went to Birch Bride of Whitmore Lake and the third place winner was Buttons 2 Button of Northville.

The growth category was won by Jessica Willis and her Ann Arbor-based PocketNest, an online financial planning tool targeted to millennials. Second place went to FrontWest Customs Brokerage & Services of Romulus and SignOn of Grosse Pointe Farms took third place.

Second prize was $5,000 and third prize was $2,500.

"This influx of capital can make a big difference to our winning companies as they start or grow their businesses," Carolyn Cassin, CEO of Michigan Women Forward, said in a news release.

Similarly, 10 entrepreneurs will present their ideas in Grand Rapids on Thursday and another group in Jackson on Nov. 14.

A total of $108,000 will be awarded across all three locations, according to a news release. Winners in each category at each location will be awarded cash prizes ranging from $10,000 to $1,000 each. All finalists will receive support services and technical assistance.

The competition, which garnered more than 140 application this year, is formerly known as the Dolphin Tank, a "helpful feedback-driven" version of the popular television show "Shark Tank."

Since 2014, MWF has loaned $2.4 million to 93 businesses, in addition to 74 pitch competition prizes and investments totaling $468,400, it said in a news release. The Consumers Energy Foundation has contributed $200,000 to Michigan Women Forward this year toward its Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Following were the finalists in Southeast Michigan, along with their business concepts:

  • Angeline Rebottaro, Birch Bride LLC, an engagement jewelry business, Whitmore Lake

  • Jane Bate, GreenHouse Soups & Chilli, a soups and chili seller, Allen Park

  • Garnette Archer, Jo's Gallery 2 LLC, an art gallery, Detroit

  • Gina Adams-Levy, Buttons 2 Button Inc., an adaptive wardrobe retailer, Northville

  • Jill Romine - Team Fit Inc., a personal training business, St. Clair

  • Catalina Kaiyoorawongs, Dough, an educational platform, Ann Arbor

  • Jessica Willis, PocketNest, a financial technology company, Ann Arbor

  • Michelle Small, FrontWest Customs Brokerage & Services LLC, a customs brokerage firm, Romulus

  • Ashlee Trempus, SignOn, a virtual immersion program, Grosse Pointe Farms

  • Desiree Pritchard, Dearborn Career Academy, a cosmetology school, Dearborn Heights


This article is referenced from Crain's Detroit Business website. For more information please visit their website.

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