A new statewide startup pitch series is being launched through a partnership between BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. and NEWaukee that gives Wisconsin entrepreneurs a chance to compete for cash prizes.
Called HATCH, the events will feature several entrepreneurs at each event who will pitch an early-stage business idea before a crowd and a jury of local business representatives. The winner of each event will receive $2,000 in cash to support their business idea and an invitation to pitch their idea again at a grand finale event on October 11.
The winner of the finale pitch event will receive a $10,000 cash prize. A location for the finale has not yet been determined.
“The startup conversation tends to get stuck with the same people at the table,” said NEWaukee co-founder and chief executive officer Angela Damiani. “We believe HATCH can be a more inclusive effort in inspiring new founders to take the leap into entrepreneurship, thus growing the number of opportunities for our talent to stay and invest in Wisconsin.”
The first HATCH event will be held in Stevens Point on April 26. The deadline to submit ideas to pitch at the event is March 31.
HATCH events will also be held in Wisconsin Rapids on May 24, Wausau on June 21 and Marshfield on July 19.
“BrightStar’s mission is to invest in Wisconsin early stage companies that have the potential to create many high-paying jobs in our great state,” said BrightStar president and CEO Tom Shannon. “We are often asked to help affect the start-up ecosystem in ways other than direct investments and the HATCH pitch program that we’ve developed with NEWaukee is an excellent way to do that. We’ve decided to launch this test program in central Wisconsin, a part of the state where we’ve had especially great support.”
The HATCH events will each be hosted by a different millennial-focused organization in the cities where they will take place, including MCDEVCO in Wausau; Ignite Leadership Network of Portage County in Steven’s Point; and Marshfield Young Professions and Current Young Professionals of Wisconsin Rapids.