The top three $10,000 small grant winners of the Englewood Quality of Life Business Plan Competition offered a variety of new business ideas for Englewood during the culminating “Pitch Day” event on Thursday, December 15, 2016 at Teamwork Englewood.
Top rated winners Lesley Roth & Steve Marchese pitched “Englewood Brews” a micro brewery. Eddie E. Downs, FBG Cookies and Company came in second with his plan for a cookie company and Andrea NaTay Drane secured the third top spot with Forever Fitness Chicago, LLC, healthy food vending machines.
An additional $10,000 was distributed among the following remaining contestants to help advance their businesses: Michelle D. Flagg, Redacre Solutions, Construction Industry Sub-contractor Support Firm; Ronda Hale Johnson, Nu Horizon, Multi-line Insurance Services; Dr. Sonia Kennedy, EW360, Empowering Wellness, Health & Wellness Center; Cherice Price, Cherice Price Insurance Company; and, Alexis Williams, Let Us Serve You-clean food catering
During the final phase of the five month competition, a blue ribbon panel of judges comprised
of local luminaries evaluated each candidate’s ability to effectively “pitch” their business idea. The pitch score was added to a previously evaluated written business plan score. The “Pitch Day” blue ribbon panel of judges included: Andrea Zopp, Deputy Mayor and Chief Neighborhood Development Officer, Office of the Mayor; Maria Guerra Lapacek, Commissioner, City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection; Edward and Shirley Calahan, Calahan Funeral Home (Englewood); and, Walter Robb, Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market.
The small business grant awards sponsored by Teamwork Englewood are intended to reward small business owners and entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to provide needed products or services to the people of the Englewood community. The awards are presented in association with the Englewood Qualify of Life Plan, Jobs and Economic Development Task Force that is charged with assessing needs and identifying businesses opportunities crucial to building a thriving enterprise zone in the Englewood neighborhood.