13 businesses reach semifinals for Frederick County SHE Pitch | Economy & business

An upscale bartending service, a pop-up bakery, a natural wellness company, and an addiction treatment center are among the 13 businesses advancing in a “Shark Tank” -style pitch competition.

Now in its second year, SHE (Strength, Heart and Equality) Pitch is organized by the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce to bring together female entrepreneurs.

The competition culminates in a live competition during SHE Week in August, in which competitors pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges. Thousands of dollars in prizes are on the table, in addition to networking and educational opportunities, according to Jennifer Gerlock, vice president of marketing and communication for the chamber and executive director of Leadership Frederick County.

She also sits on the seven-person committee that has been vetting applicants for this year’s pitch competition.

“It’s really about helping grow female entrepreneurs in Frederick County,” Gerlock said Tuesday.

Sixty-two people registered for SHE Pitch this year, which Gerlock said is a considerable jump from the previous year.

“We were impressed by the caliber of material,” Gerlock said. “It was a very difficult evaluation process.”

The committee that reviews applicants consists of volunteer community members who work in economic development, according to Gerlock. They include professionals from the economic development offices for the city of Frederick and Frederick County and from the Maryland Women’s Business Center.

The committee examined investment summaries submitted by the applicants explaining their business, how it works, target customers, the market, the revenue model and more, Gerlock said. Applicants have access to a pitch creator tool that guides them through how to pitch their business and create a presentation.

This year, 13 businesses that stood out were selected as semifinalists. Next, semifinalists will polish their summaries and create slide decks to try to advance to the finals.

Businesses are separated into two groups in the competition: “idea stage” and “growth stage.”

Gerlock said this year’s cash prizes will be greater, but the final numbers are still being worked out as funders come forward.

This year’s semifinalists for SHE Pitch are:

  • BT Restoration & Healing Center
  • Karin Abma Consulting
  • Seek Care Solutions
  • SHIFT Work + Play
  • SpellRead Works
  • Wachter Wellness Co.
  • Chaney Communication
  • Dream Free Art
  • JoNa’s Exterior Design
  • Maryland Bakes
  • SL Studio
  • SweetsbyCaroline
  • Taste T’s Creations

Finalists announced on July 18 will compete live during SHE Week Aug. 24 at Hood College. SHE Week will run Aug. 22 to 26.

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter:

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