Entrepreneurs compete in ArtWorks’ Big Pitch

Big Pitch

Thursday, Oct. 6, Rhinegeist Brewery

ArtWorks Big Pitch, presented by U.S. Bank, is back for a third year with a new group of creative entrepreneurs and small businesses. The eight finalists were chosen to participate in ArtWorks’ 10-week mentorship program and business pitch competition. Top prize is $15,000 in business grants.

During the 10-week mentorship program, each finalist was paired with a business mentor and a U.S. Bank small business specialist to help strategically develop their next stage of growth, refine the business plan and craft a five-minute pitch.

The 10-week program finishes Oct. 6 when each finalist will deliver a five-minute pitch before an audience and a panel of judges consisting of Cincinnati business leaders.

The Judge’s Choice winner will be awarded a $15,000 business grant. The audience will vote on the winner of a separate $5,000 grant. Grants are sponsored by U.S. Bank.

“Cincinnati is a city filled with creative makers, crafters and doers. ArtWorks, with support of U.S. Bank, is excited to connect this group of talented creative entrepreneurs to successful mentors and provide them the resources and support they need to have their business thrive here locally,” said Shailah Maynard, director of ArtWorks Creative Enterprise.  

Tickets, Information: ArtWorksCincinnati.org/BigPitch


The Eight Finalists

The eight businesses selected for the 2016 ArtWorks Big Pitch Presented by U.S. Bank include:

  • Fox Aprons, founded by former sous-chef Jonathan Fox, makes professional, industry-tested workwear designed by chefs using high quality materials. Mentor: Jim Stahly, Chapter Chair of Greater Cincinnati Score and CEO of PharynMed LLC. U.S. Bank small business specialist: Khadija Jlaoul.
  • Frameshop USA, co-founded by Jake Gerth, is a custom picture framing company that offers custom framing, graphic design, art buying and art transportation. 
Mentor: Bjorn Simmons, founder of Wyzerr. U.S. Bank small business specialist: Kaylyn Gast.
  • Grace Green Beauty, founded by Tempal Hitt, is a whole-being beauty and wellness line made using handmade natural products, free of chemicals and additives. Mentor: Emily Merkle, director of Blue and Co. U.S. Bank small business specialist: Josh Gilbert
  • OCD Cakes, founded by James Avant IV as a byproduct of his ongoing journey with anxiety, is a bakery that offers introductory baking class experiences. Mentor: Paul Picton, president and chocolate maker at Maverick Chocolate. U.S. Bank small business specialist: Michael Howard.
  • SRO Prints, co-founded by Sara Swinehart, offers apparel printing and promotional products. SRO Prints provides employment to at-risk adults recovering from drug addiction. Mentor: Carolyn Deininger, Owner of MiCA. U.S. Bank small business specialist: Jonathan Simpson.
  • The Lodge, founded by Scott Beseler, is a one-stop shop for artists, a dream studio space where artists have the tools and resources to create, produce and foster their craft. Mentor: Anthony Robertson, attorney at Graydon Head & Ritchey. U.S. Bank small business specialist: Jake Powers.
  • Thane Lorbach Furniture, founded by Thane Lorbach, uses woodworking equipment and modern machinery to design and manufacture custom and reproduction furniture. Mentor: Kathy Chabot, CEO at Norwood Hardware and Supply Co. U.S. Bank small business specialist: Jennifer Wilson.
  • Originalitiees, founded by Khisha Asubuhi, is a locally owned clothing line that specializes in state, city and neighborhood pride apparel. Mentor: Jade Doyle, Global Talent Management at AIG. U.S. Bank small business specialist: Vance Marshall.

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