Funding / Pitches / Resources

Resource Roundup: These 8 companies made it to Georgetown’s latest Bark Tank

Plus, Alexandria just gave $535,000 to local business organizations and Black Girl Ventures is hosting a pitch event in Norfolk next week.

Winners of 2019's Georgetown Entrepreneurship Bark Tank pitch event. (Photo via Georgetown)
Correction: After initial publication, a City of Alexandria representative reached out to say that the amount awarded via the ALX B2B Business Association Grant program was $535,000, and not $520,000 as its parent entities initially stated. This article has been updated accordingly. (10/26/22, 10:45 a.m.)

Meet the Bark Tank finalists

Georgetown Entrepreneurship has selected eight finalists for its Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize. Current students and alumni of Georgetown University will pitch their companies in the school’s annual “Bark Tank” competition to determine the winner. A panel of judges and the audience will decide who will win a share of the $100,000 prize.

Here are the eight finalists:

  • Budeli: Founders Carlos Bello and Jinsung Bach created a startup that partners with residential buildings for a flat $2.00 delivery charge for apartment residents.
  • Dreame: Victor Dreame developed a life coaching service for women and LGBTQ+ people to help with advice and finding romantic partners.
  • LUCIO: Founder Victoria Gomes-Boronat built a social gaming platform to connect users in gaming through algorithms.
  • Tessen: Kilian Liptrot’s Tessen designs camera products to help photographers travel light.
  • Homemade in DC: Mackenzie Loy created an online marketplace that connects women, people of color and LGBTQ+ creators to businesses for corporate catering and gift boxes.
  • Chestr: Founded by Besart Copa, Chestr is a wishlist for saving items, sharing them and tracking discounts.
  • Proxy Foods: With his startup, Panos Kostopoulos is building software products for alternative protein product formulation.
  • Global Pal: Neal Singal built a mobile payment platform for small and medium-sized restaurants.

Winners will be selected at an event on Nov. 2.

Action in Alexandria

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP) just announced over half a million in funding for local business organizations.

Through the ALX B2B Business Association Grant program, eight organizations will receive funding to help with growth and capacity for their work with local businesses. The funding will also help establish the Social Responsibility Group and Alexandria Minority Business Association, both of which are dedicated to startups and small companies from founders of color.

In total, $535,000 will be awarded. Here’s who nabbed funding:

  • Alexandria Chamber of Commerce
  • Alexandria Minority Business Association
  • Del Ray Business Association
  • Eisenhower Avenue Public-Private Partnership
  • Old Town Business Association
  • Old Town North Alliance
  • Social Responsibility Group
  • West End Business Association

“Our business associations offer the opportunity to collaborate and coordinate for our businesses as they continue to recover from the challenges of the pandemic and potential future uncertainty,” said AEDP President and CEO Stephanie Landrum in a statement. “This program will give them the support they need to, in turn, support their member businesses and ensure that they and Alexandria continue not only to recover but to succeed well into the future.”

Additionally, Alexandria City Council is considering releasing $500,000 to fund an incubation program for founders of color. Through the BIPOC-Owned Businesses Grant Program, founders would get a one-time grant of $7,000 for their company. The council will consider the funds at a meeting on Oct. 25. As the city expects that there will be more applicants than funds, those who didn’t get COVID recovery funds will be prioritized.

If the program is approved, applications would open in December with selection in early 2023.

Black Girl Ventures is bringing Pull Up and Pitch to Virginia

On Nov. 2, Black Girl Ventures (BGV) is bringing its Pull Up and Pitch event to the Mighty Dream Forum in Norfolk, Virginia. Black Ambition and UPS are also partnering with the event.

Pull Up & Pitch is a pitch competition designed to “normalize” business pitching. The two-round competition asks entrepreneurs for a 60-second pitch to receive up to $50,000 in grants for their business. BGV noted that participants do not need to be tech-focused or consider their company a startup. The event is open to Black and Latinx founders, small business owners and entrepreneurs of all genders.

Launched this fall by singer Pharrell Williams, the Mighty Dream Forum is an event for corporate and NGO leaders prioritizing DEI work at their organizations.

Register here
Companies: Black Girl Ventures / Georgetown University

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