New Milwaukee CBD bakery wins Project Pitch It $10,000 prize

Amanda Buhrman, founder of Sweetly Baked.

Last updated on May 2nd, 2022 at 01:20 pm

A new kind of bakery won over the moguls during this week’s episode of Project Pitch It. Amanda Buhrman, founder of Milwaukee-based company Sweetly Baked, won the $10,000 Project Pitch It Award.

Sweetly Baked is Milwaukee’s first commercial CBD Bakery, specializing in handcrafted, small-batch confections. In the first month after she opened, Buhrman sold over 1,000 individual items.

In 2020, Buhrman was working in the tourism industry and found herself becoming anxious when thinking about the possible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. She immersed herself into baking to manage that anxiety and ended up leaving her job in June of 2021 to launch her business. The idea to incorporate CBD into her products came from personal experience. Buhrman has used CBD to help manage her anxiety.

“When it comes to edibles, often times you can only find gummies or mass produced, white label items. Rarely can you find a wide range of custom and delicious treats,” Buhrman said.

Sweetly Baked does not currently have a brick-and-mortar storefront where products are sold. Customers can place orders online or schedule a time to pick their products up directly from the company’s commercial kitchen. Buhrman plans to use the money she won to hire additional staff so her company can grow more quickly. She also hopes to launch subscription boxes and start attending farmers markets.

Entrepreneur Marlowe Franklin and his company Legal Stream Interaction (LSI) earned the Jendusa/UWM Lubar Entrepreneurship Award. This includes access to workshops, programming and support services including investment guidance and mentoring from UW-Milwaukee’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center, plus $5,000.

Franklin came up with the idea for his app after witnessing how the pandemic led people to have “shorter fuses.”  He referenced a Pennsylvania dispute between two neighbors and snowblowing services that led to three people being killed.

“During that argument, if they had said something like ‘I’ll just contact my attorney,’ that probably would have diffused the situation,” Franklin said. “But we all know everybody doesn’t have an attorney on standby.”

That’s the service LSI can provide to its users. LSI streams situations directly to your attorney and the attorney is able to interject during the livestream. Franklin said right now, he needs guidance to figure out how to move the platform forward. He’s also in the beginning stages of seeking a patent for his product.

Appleton resident Andrew Schmitz and his company Micronet took home the American Family/We Energies Award which includes $1,500 in cash and mentoring from a We Energies leader to support all aspects of the business, including marketing, IT, human resources, and finance.

Micronet helps organizations with member retention and engagement by helping them build a better sense of belonging among employees. This is all done via email introductions that are sent out through the platform. These introductions help connect people who are interested in networking. People within the same company can be connected to help build engagement among employees. Micronet users can also connect with people from outside companies and organizations.

Schmitz came up with the idea for the software once he came across his own difficulties in balancing his work responsibilities and still finding time to network.

“I was venting to a friend one day and I said, ‘I really wish I could just have a long list of all the businesspeople in the area that were willing to grab a coffee.’ That was a lightbulb moment for me,” Schmitz said.

At six months old, the platform is being used in over 10 communities and has helped facilitate over 4,000 introductions. Schmitz is hoping to connect with more companies and organizations that can use Micronet.

Project Pitch It airs Saturdays at 10:35 p.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin on WISN-TV Channel 12. BizTimes Milwaukee is a media partner for Project Pitch It.

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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