‘People’s Shark Tank’ gives the audience the power to back promising founders

There’s a new pitch competition in town, where seven founders from the DMV will pitch to a panel of judges, angel investors and community partners. In a twist, the audience will have a chance to make an investment, too.

Coined “the People’s Shark Tank” by Street Entrepreneurs founder and CEO Juliana Cardona Mejia, Street Pitch will be livestreamed so attendees and viewers can make direct investments into the startups through equity crowdfunding campaigns, product purchases or in-kind contributions, a press release states.

Street Pitch 2018 will take place on Nov. 27 from 6-9 p.m. at the Inclusive Innovation Incubator, located near Howard University’s campus on Georgia Avenue. The event will be hosted by Brandon Andrews of ABC’s Shark Tank and is also taking place on #GivingTuesday, an international day of giving to kick off the holiday season.

“If American Idol and Shark Tank had a baby, it would be called ‘Street Pitch.’ We believe in collective impact. Therefore, we are bringing together 30 grassroots community partners, 150 audience members and potentially one million virtual viewers to give business owners the platform they deserve. These entrepreneurs will pitch you, the live and digital audience, and you will decide who gets your investment.” Mejia said in a statement.

D.C.–based Street Entrepreneurs is a nonprofit organization that creates access to human, social, and economic capital through educational programming and mentorship. The nonprofit has been in business for three years now and has hosted 32 pay-what-you-can educational workshop for aspiring minority entrepreneurs. The seven finalists were selected from the nonprofit’s network of over 380 members.

Here’s the Street Pitch 2018 presenting entrepreneurs:

  • Ron Reaves, founder of Kitchen Veteran.

  • Christopher King, founder of We Are Marcus.

  • Jazmine Davis, founder of Jazmine Kionna.

  • Teka Thomas, founder of VRYPAC.

  • Aaron Brehove, cofounder of Smirkee Cares.

  • Donna Omoregie, founder of The Freestyle Hair App.

  • Angelique Michelle, founder of iCONiQ Style.

Each pitch is assessed by three judges who are familiar with the industry. With more than 20 judges, the panel will include some familiar #dctech faces like Amelia Friedman, cofounder and COO at Hatch Apps, Jeff Reid, founder of Georgetown’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, Sibyl Edwards, cofounder and CEO of Black Female Founders (#BFF) and many more.

“Street Pitch is a testament to what can be accomplished when organizations come together to support underestimated entrepreneurs. When researching Building Inclusive Ecosystems with Intentionality for BEACON DC, I recognized the power of structuring untraditional partnerships and thinking differently when supporting new majority entrepreneurs. This event does so by catalyzing a new platform for investment – empowering anyone, anywhere to support who and what they believe in.” Deloris Wilson, head of strategy and operations at BEACON DC who will be on the judging panel, said in a statement.

To be more accessible, the event will also feature American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters courtesy of Gallaudet University.


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