(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)
Leave it to WeWork to give a pitch competition party vibes.
On Tuesday, selected entrepreneurs from around the D.C. area gathered at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Avenue for the kickoff of WeWork’s yearlong Creator Awards — a grant program via which the coworking company aims to give a total of $20 million to “creators” around the world. After a day featuring a job fair, masterclasses and a makers market, at around 8 p.m. it was time for the final pitches.
Entrepreneurs in three categories (“incubate,” “launch” and “scale”) took the stage for a 60-second bid to win the judges favor. All in all the evening saw 25 winners walk away with more than $1.5 million total in grants, but it was Byte Back that really won big.
The 20-year-old nonprofit that teaches basic computer skills to underserved D.C. residents won the top grant in the scale category — $360,000. “The feeling tonight when we won was unbelievable,” Byte Back Executive Director Elizabeth Lindsey said in a statement. “This award will help Byte Back with tech training and support, and we will be able to reach so many more people in our region as well as look to a national expansion.”
— Byte Back (@ByteBackDC) March 29, 2017
Specifically, she mentioned on stage, Byte Back wishes to expand into Maryland.
Once the pitches were over the party really got started — the evening featured drinks, plenty of little doughnuts by District Doughnut and a performance by DJ Mark Ronson.
From here WeWork’s Creator Awards will continue a global roadshow. The next event will take place in Detroit in May.