More than 500 Detroit business owners who applied to pitch at Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day has been narrowed down to 15 finalists, who will take the stage at the Music Hall for Performing Arts on June 22. Seven winning companies will receive a total of $1.2 million in funding from Quicken Loans.
A panel of 12 local business leaders from varying industries selected the 15 finalists based on the viability of their businesses, their ability to scale, their competitive advantage, and the skills of their leadership team. The finalists’ pitches will be judged by nationally recognized entrepreneurs from across the United States.
The winning companies will be from three categories – start, grow, and scale. The start category is for companies that have recently introduced a product or service. Businesses in the grow category are more established and are trying to expand locally. The companies in the scale category have achieved local success and are ready to expand into other markets.
The capital will be provided as grants, interest-free loans, and convertible notes, depending on the category.
Bloomscape, Lush Yummies, Plum Health, Reilly Craft Creamery, The Fangage, and Yum Village are in the start category. Three winners will receive up to $100,000.
AccelerateKID, Building Hugger, Cynt-Sational Popcorn, Detroit Denim, Tait Design, and The TEN Nail Bar are in the grow category. Three winners will receive up to $250,000.
House of Pure Vin, Michigan Farm to Freezer, and Rebel Nell are in the scale category. One winner will receive $300,000.
An additional $25,000 grant will be awarded to one people’s choice award winner in each category, as decided by audience vote.
“This is the biggest opportunity of the year for Detroiters to come out and celebrate some of the city’s best and brightest entrepreneurs,” says James Chapman, director of entrepreneurship for the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund. “These businesses are the life-blood of Detroit – their success will have a huge multiplier effect that will impact the community as a whole, creating more job opportunities for Detroiters.”
The competition will start with the leaders of the 15 best businesses in Detroit presenting their companies, successes, and growth strategies to the panel of judges, which includes Charles Adler, the co-founder of Kickstarter; Ron Bartell, former Detroit Lion and founder of Kuzzos Chicken and Waffles; and Anne Sempowski Ward, Detroit native and CEO of CURiO brands.
The event will also award a total of $150,000 to five organizations focused on youth entrepreneurship. One student from each organization will pitch their business idea, and the audience will select the winners.
The day will wrap up with a performance by Grammy Award-winning Def Jam recording artist.
The contest takes place during Techstars Startup Week Detroit, which aims to increase awareness around the local startup community and the opportunities to get involved.
Detroit Demo Day is a component of the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund’s larger strategy to invest in housing stability, entrepreneurship, education and workforce development, public space activation, and community sponsorship in Detroit. The fund brings together for-profit businesses and nonprofit investments.
Tickets to the event are free and available here.