The Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) is passionate about supporting local entrepreneurs, so a pitch competition for growth and idea stage businesses in Frederick County is right up our alley. FCOED served as a sponsor for this year’s S.H.E. Pitch Competition held on August 24th, 2022 at Hood College. S.H.E. Pitch is part of S.H.E. Week – an annual week of events from the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce that centers around Strength, Heart and Equality and celebrates the women of Frederick County.
60 female-owned businesses applied to be a part of the 2022 S.H.E. Pitch Competition, but only seven made the cut and presented to a live audience and panel of judges. Hood College’s Hodson Auditorium was packed with spectators on Wednesday evening and the crowd heard pitches from four Growth Stage competitors and three Idea Stage competitors.
Once all seven businesses presented their pitches, the panel of judges deliberated. After what the four judges called a very tough decision, SHIFT Work + Play was named the Idea Stage winner. SHIFT Work + Play is a modern coworking space for busy professionals. Creator Megan Donovan pitched about the family-friendly aspect of the space, including a supervised playroom. Donovan took home $6,500 in cash and a video/social media package from 88 Visual.
JoNa’s Exterior Design was selected as the Growth Stage winner. JoNa’s Exterior Design specializes in outdoor furniture. Owner Kelly Kuzma pitched about the quality of the luxury poly pieces and their ability to last. Kuzma also took home $6,500 in cash and a video/social media package from 88 Visual, as well as an advertising package in Sass Magazine
In addition to the cash prizes, PNC Bank announced a growth support program that would be provided to all seven participants.
Audience members also had the chance to vote for their favorite business pitch, and SL Studio came out on top as the People’s Choice winner, taking home a $500 prize. Owner Hannah King pitched about the success of the combination coworking and gym space, and their plans to expand.
In addition, the Maryland Women’s Business Center selected Dream Free Art LLC for the “She’s Rising Award,” presenting the business with $500. Owner Tina Harper pitched about her dreams of opening a new studio for art projects, including a unique splatter room.
Congratulations to this year’s S.H.E. Pitch winners, and to all seven business owners who boldly took the stage to share their passion with the crowd. FCOED is already looking forward to S.H.E. Pitch 2023!