Calling all small businesses with big dreams! The Big Pitch Presented by PNC is back for a landmark fifth year – and in celebration is offering prizes totaling $50,000 to help the winners take their businesses to the next level. On November 17, five finalists will compete before a live audience and panel of judges, “Shark Tank-style,” for a chance to win the cash, plus a diverse offering of professional services.
Applications for the business pitch competition organized by REV Birmingham are being accepted through September 15 at bigpitchbham.com. The selection panel is looking for small startups poised to hit a major growth point in the next six months – especially retail, restaurant, art or neighborhood service concepts that will generate foot traffic and result in job and tax growth in the city of Birmingham. Finalists will be selected and notified by October 5.
“Now in our fifth year as presenting sponsor, we continue to be impressed by the caliber of startups that are bringing innovative products and services to Birmingham’s communities,” said Nick Willis, PNC regional president for Alabama and REV Birmingham executive committee member. “We look forward to working with this year’s selected finalists and to support continued economic growth through the Big Pitch.”
Finalists will be asked to articulate how potential winnings would be used to make progress toward a milestone for their small business. Strong consideration will be given to businesses that have graduated from REV’s BIZ 1.0 Startup Essentials workshop and/or Create Birmingham’s CO.STARTERS business development offering – for which you may register at revbirmingham.org/biz1.0 or revbirmingham.org/costarters.
“Birmingham now has as strong a pipeline of creative startups as ever,” said David Fleming, REV Birmingham President and CEO. “They have developed their business models through programs like BIZ 1.0 and CO.STARTERS and tested them at pop-ups and events like the Woodlawn Street Market. We’re looking to help get some of those proven business models into a more permanent space.”
Finalists, regardless of competition placement, have gained valuable experience and relationships through their Big Pitch participation – from the instruction and mentoring they receive throughout competition preparation to networking opportunities with potential investors. Past Big Pitch finalists include Zebbie Carney of Eugene’s Hot Chicken, popular food truck and brick-and-mortar near Uptown; Amber and Stephen Tolbert of East 59 Vintage & Cafe, a coffee and gift shop in East Lake; Haden Smith, who competed as Bayou Bros food truck concept but went on to recently open The Annex Culinary Incubator downtown; and Kate Hardy of Square One Goods, a cheeky gift shop now open in Founder’s Station downtown.