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Entrepreneur-YOU Venture Funding Awarded to Women-Owned Michigan Businesses

Nine local female entrepreneurs presented their business plans and business pitches to a panel of judges recently, vying for a portion of more than $50,000 in cash and services to winners of the third much-anticipated Entrepreneur-YOU Business Plan and Pitch Competition.

The competition was held at Walsh College, which is one of the collaborators behind Entrepreneur-YOU, along with the Michigan Women’s Foundation and Inforum Michigan, with support from Fifth Third Bank.

Competitors were grouped in two categories – Lifestyle and Growth. Participants were evaluated on 15 criteria. Following are the winners and the value of their awards:

Lifestyle
1st prize, Tatiana Grant, Flash Delivery, $13,900
2nd prize, Shannon Byrne, Slow Jams, $9,400
3rd prize, Yvette Rock, Live Coal Gallery LLC, $5,900

Growth
1st prize, Julie Hyde-Edwards, re-Contour Nipple Guard and Mastectomy Dressing, $13,900
2nd prize, Julie Andreae, Secure Beginnings’ Breathable Crib Mattresses, $9,400
3rd prize, Adrienne Minerick, Blood Typing Microdevice, $5,900

“We are ecstatic about the award,” says Tatiana Grant, Co-Owner of Flash Delivery with Ericka Billingslea, first-place winners in the Lifestyle category. Their prize money will be used for software updates, to expand the business and for branding and marketing. Flash Delivery is a restaurant and grocery delivery service based in Detroit. Grant resides in Farmington Hills.

The competition “was a great experience,” Grant says. “We are more confident in our company now. The prize is like a pat on the back for our work.”

Julie Hyde-Edwards, first-place winner in the Growth category, was inspired to create a medical device to help patients going through breast reconstruction after she experienced it herself. She shared a prototype of the dressing to her surgeon, who confirmed its medical solidity; Hyde-Edwards received a U.S. Patent in April and recently received confirmation of the product’s FDA classification.

“The goal is to help women heal more beautifully from breast cancer and launch a successful business in the process,” says the Royal Oak resident. “This award is an honor. It is validation of my business concept and a motivator to move ahead. I made some valuable connections as well.”

The prize is a “catalyst” for Hyde-Edwards to push forward with her business. She believes her business carries a message that oftentimes, solutions come from people in the trenches – in her case, patients. The award is validation to trust your gut and jump in to make your passion into a product that helps people, she notes.

The fourth annual Entrepreneur-YOU education conference is scheduled for Friday, March 20, 2015 at the Walsh College Troy Campus. Visit www.thewalshinstitute.com/eyou for more information.

Entrepreneur-YOU is a program of women helping women launch and grow businesses through the collaborative efforts of its sponsors, Michigan Women’s Foundation, Inforum Michigan and Walsh College, with support from Fifth Third Bank. In-kind sponsors include Accounting: Baker Tilly, Deloitte, and Rehmann; PR and Marketing: Brogan & Partners, Eisbrenner Public Relations, Tanner Friedman and Your People, and Legal: Jaffe, Stobl Sharp, Tifani Sadek and Butzel Long.

Walsh College
Founded in 1922, Walsh College is a private, not for profit institution offering upper-division undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees and certificate programs.

One of Southeast Michigan’s largest business schools, Walsh has locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township, and Port Huron, as well as online. Walsh’s business services division offers the Walsh Institute, which provides solutions for businesses through training, continuing education, and consulting.

Walsh is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org; phone: 312-263-0456). The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP, www.acbsp.org) accredits specific degree programs.

Michigan Women’s Foundation
Michigan Women’s Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that is committed to creating positive change for Michigan’s women and girls. As a statewide foundation, MWF seeks to transform Michigan to achieve equality and empowerment for its women and girls. We do this by raising funds to support and collaborate with individuals and organizations to address and eliminate barriers to economic and social equality for Michigan women and girls. In over 25 years, we have awarded more than $3.2 million to more than 500 programs and organizations working to advance equality, remove barriers and improve lives. We value community, results, accountability and above all – equity. Learn more at www.miwf.org.

Inforum Michigan
Founded in 1962, Inforum is the only professional organization in Michigan – and one of a few in the country – that combines strategic connections, proven professional development programs, a respected forum for new ideas, and original research to accelerate careers for women and boost talent initiatives for companies. Inforum Center for Leadership (ICL) is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit education and research arm of Inforum. ICL programs serve a broad range of women in different stages and types of careers – from nonprofit professionals, to emerging and rising corporate leaders, tech entrepreneurs, Veterans and corporate board leaders. Inforum Center for Leadership also conducts and publishes original research on women’s leadership influence, including the Michigan Women’s Leadership Index. Inforum has offices in Detroit and Grand Rapids with operations in Saginaw, Lansing and Kalamazoo. Visit inforummichigan.org

MEDIA INQUIRY:
Lynne Golodner, Your People, 248-376-0406, lynne@yourppl.com