DETROIT – Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day today announced the 15 finalists competing for a share of more than $1 million in funding in their fifth annual entrepreneurship competition – one of the largest of its kind in the U.S.
The 15 finalists, representing a broad segment of industries, were chosen out of over 100 applications by a diverse panel of Detroit-based entrepreneurs and business leaders. This year’s finalists include 12 Black-owned businesses, and more than half of the finalists are woman-owned. The finalists will be judged by a panel composed of acclaimed entrepreneurs and past Demo Day winners.
- 15 finalists competing for more than $1 million in funding
- Every finalist in Start, Pivot and Scale categories to walk away with minimum of $25,000 in grant funding and could receive up to $300,000 to support their business.
- New “Youth” category available for emerging entrepreneurs aged 8-18.
- Winners to be announced at a virtual event on September 24.
In addition, each finalist will be awarded a $25,000 grant, ensuring everyone receives funding and can use critical funds to continue supporting their business.
“Providing each finalist with a significant grant allows them to invest in their future and put them on the path to success,” said Laura Grannemann, Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Rocket Mortgage and Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT). “Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day has invested nearly $4.5 million into Detroit-based businesses over the past four years and continuing to provide equitable access to capital remains more important than ever.”
This year’s competition features four categories: Start, Pivot, Scale and Youth. One winner will be selected for each category.
- Start: For businesses launching and introducing their product or service to the market.
- Pivot: For businesses who had to adapt to the pandemic to meet the needs of this moment.
- Scale: For longstanding, community anchor businesses that are looking to grow.
New this year, the Youth category was created to foster the ambitions of young entrepreneurs with capital and supportive resources to set them up for early success. Businesses in the Youth category are for emerging entrepreneurs aged 8-18 that are looking to start or scale their business.
The following companies will be competing for more than $1 million in funding:
Start Category (Winner receives $125,000 in grant funding):
- Athlytic – Brings athletes and brands together
- Blue Horizon Construction LLC – Demolition construction
- Guilde – App for quoting or estimating renovations
- Neighborhood Grocery – Social conscious grocery
- The Lab Drawer – Subscription box
Pivot Category (Winner receives $200,000 in funding):
- House of Pure Vin – Wine shop
- ILERA Apothecary – Skin care products
- Jo’s Gallery 2 LLC – Art framing
- Soft Goods – Ethical clothing manufacturing
- Tapped Coffee and Craft Beverages – Non-alcoholic craft beverages and food
Scale Category (Winner receives $250,000 in funding):
- Black Girl MATHgic – Subscription box for math learning
- BrandXR – Augmented Reality studio and platform
- Detroit Maid – Cleaning service
- Fierce Staffing & Consulting – Staffing and consulting services
- Narrow Way Cafe & Shop – Coffee delivery
Winners in the Youth category will be announced at the event.
Finalists will also be competing for the People’s Choice grant within their category worth $25,000. Voting for the People’s Choice awards will open on September 20 and winners will be announced during the event. Voting will take place on the Detroit Demo Day website when live.
“Through this event, we are supporting small businesses at every level,” said James Feagin, Director of Entrepreneurship at the Rocket Community Fund. “Detroit has top entrepreneurial talent, and I’m thankful that this event has been able to lift them up and take their businesses to new levels.”
The Rocket Community Fund’s Entrepreneurship Team provides critical ongoing support, networking opportunities and mentorship to Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day alumni, positioning them for long-term success.
For more information, visit detroitdemoday.com.