Aug. 18, 2022
Michigan Women Forward is hosting the ‘53 Voices’ pitch challenge sponsored by Fifth Third Bank. The challenge addresses income inequality through entrepreneurship by providing anyone with an idea access to the capital, training resources, and social connections needed to remove barriers, take an idea and turn it into a viable business.
Rather than relying exclusively on their ability to put pen to paper, applicants will be asked to submit audio business pitches. Each applicant has up to 53 seconds to verbally describe their idea or existing business for consideration.
53 Voices is open to all individuals – even those without a background in business, higher education or training. This supports Michigan Women Forward’s mission to expand economic opportunity for female entrepreneurs in the state.
Applications are now open through Friday, Aug. 19 and must also include a one-page concept paper. Only women who currently live in Michigan are eligible to apply.
“The 53 Voices pitch challenge was created to help women and girls reach their full potential, and allow their voices to be heard,” said Alexis Dishman, chief lending officer at Michigan Women Forward. “At Michigan Women Forward, we believe in an equitable future where women and entrepreneurs of color are empowered to take their business dreams and make them a reality. We’re proud to work towards this goal with Fifth Third Bank and we’re excited to hear what this year’s applicants bring to the table.”
In the first round of the pitch challenge, a group of judges will review the concept papers and voice submissions to select the top 53 applicants. Finalists will receive $200 and be invited to three training workshops. Completion and attendance of all workshops are mandatory to progress in the challenge.
During round two, the judges will identify the top ten finalists. Each contestant will submit a 53-second video to receive $750. The videos will be voted on by the community for the chance to win the first prize of $7,500. The second-place winner will receive $5,000 and the third-place winner will receive $2,500.
“More economic opportunity for local entrepreneurs supports a stronger community,” said Tawnya Rose, vice president and community development manager at Fifth Third Bank. “The 53 Voices pitch challenge is the perfect example of Fifth Third Bank’s commitment to improving lives through financial education and freedom.”
The winner of the 53 Voices pitch challenge will be announced on Oct. 18. For entry submission information, visit miwf.org.
For more information, visit www.miwf.org.