August 21st, 2023
Pitch North Announces Winners
Five local entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of over 50 people at the fifth annual Pitch North competition held on August 17th at the Pavilion at Waters Edge in Fremont.
Five local entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of over 50 people at the fifth annual Pitch North competition held on August 17th at the Pavilion at Waters Edge in Fremont. They were competing for the chance to win their share of over $12,000 in cash and prizes to bring their ideas to life.
Pitch North was designed to spark entrepreneurial change and encourage more small businesses to start in Newaygo, Oceana, and Lake counties. This year’s contest received 28 business idea submissions, from which five finalists were selected by a local committee to pitch at the live event. Each entrepreneur had five minutes to present, and judges had an opportunity to ask questions directly following.
“Every year I am amazed at the hard work and passion that our local entrepreneurs put forth,” said Julie Burrell, Newaygo County’s Economic Development Director. “We are so proud to be a part of their journey.”
The first place prize of $5,000 was awarded to Yatziry Ortega, Mi Tierra Mexico, in Newaygo. Yatziry plans to use her prize money to open a meat deli in her Hispanic grocery store. Second place was awarded to Noble Graham-Lattin, Birch & Blossom in Hart. Noble plans to expand his Taste of Oceana and Taste of Michigan gift crate product line. The third place prize went to Jackie Dickinson from Straight Path Farms in Fremont. Jackie’s prize will allow her to make efficiency upgrades to her worm farm operation and expand marketing efforts. This year’s event also offered a crowd favorite prize of $1,000, which was awarded to Brian Woods of Big Skinny’s.
The finalists will receive the following:
- 1st Place: $5,000 Yatziry Ortega, Mi Tierra Mexico
- 2nd Place: $3,500 Noble Graham-Lattin, Birch & Blossom
- 3rd Place: $1,500 Jackie Dickinson, Straight Path Farms
- 4th Place: $1000 Ashley Agler, Mindful Trout
- 5th Place: $500 Brian Woods, Big Skinny’s
Volunteer judges for the event include Andrea Simon, Owner of A New Era of Crafting and the 2022 first place winner, Jennifer Armstrong, Loan Officer for Lake-Osceola Bank, John Buckley, President & CEO of Gerber Federal Credit Union, Larry Yachcik, General Manager of Waters Edge Golf Course and Scott Beal, Executive Director of the Hart-Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area Chamber of Commerce.
Pitch North is hosted by The Right Place, Inc. in conjunction with the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership, Oceana County Economic Alliance, and Lake County Economic Development Alliance.
Pitch North 2023 was made possible through support from Consumers Energy, Lake-Osceola State Bank, The Fremont Area Community Foundation, The City of Fremont, The City of Newaygo, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Great Lakes Energy, True Stream, River Country Chamber of Commerce, West Shore Community College, Corewell Health, Hart/Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce, Shelby State Bank, Gerber Federal Credit Union, DTE Energy, Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, and SCORE. Additional in-kind prizes were provided by the Dave Byrne Law Office, Fab Lab at Muskegon Community College and the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce.