Oregon and SW Washington start-up and existing WOB businesses will compete for $50,000 in awards
Submitted by KeyBank
PORTLAND, July 18, 2023 /CSRwire/ - KeyBank’s Key4Women program, MESO, and the Portland Thorns FC are collaborating to host a business pitch contest for women-owned businesses located in specific counties in Oregon and SW Washington. Opportunities for start-ups and existing businesses will be offered, with cash awards totaling $50,000. The grand prize winner will receive $20,000.
To be eligible, businesses must be 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women. They must also be headquartered in one of the following Oregon counties: Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Columbia, Hood River, Yamhill, Marion, OR one of the following Washington counties: Clark, Cowlitz or Skamania. Applicants can be an entrepreneur with a new business idea or an existing business with a new product or service that expands their current business with annual sales of less than $3 million.
“We are delighted to join forces with Key4Women for this inspiring pitch contest. It serves as a platform to connect with an extensive network of women-owned businesses and enterprising individuals in Oregon and SW Washington," expressed Cobi Lewis, CEO of Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO). "Our mission extends beyond providing financial resources for the growth of the contest winner's business; we are committed to offering comprehensive support as they navigate their journey forward. We firmly believe that when women-owned businesses thrive, they become catalysts for job creation and become integral players in fostering robust local economic growth.”
The online portal for submissions opens July 17th at 8 am PST, https://www.mesopdx.org/key4women. Free application workshops are available with MESO Advisors on July 25th, August 2nd and August 5th.
The application deadline is August 31st at 11:59 pm PST. Ten finalists chosen by host representatives will be announced on September 18th. A live event will be held on November 16th at Providence Park in Portland from 10am-1pm PST where finalists present a four- minute pitch and field questions for six-minutes to a panel of five judges. Winners will be announced the following day.
Criteria used to determine winners will include the quality of the presentation, clarity of business vision and mission, economic impact of the idea and the soundness of value proposition. Mentoring is also available post-contest to all applicants.
“We are thrilled to host and support this pitch contest in collaboration with KeyBank’s Key4Women program and MESO,” said Todd Spear, SVP of Corporate Partnerships for the Portland Timbers & Thorns. “The Portland Thorns have always been passionate about making a difference in our community and providing opportunities and resources to women. We are excited to partner with KeyBank on this first iteration of this program and to make a meaningful impact for a handful of woman-owned small businesses in our region.”
“Women business owners and leaders positively impact our economy and communities in powerful ways every day,” said Rachael Sampson, national director, Key4Women. “Key4Women is on a mission to advocate, connect, and empower them to thrive. MESO and the Portland Thorns are great co-sponsors in this endeavor, and through this pitch contest we look forward to offering two critical supports women-owned businesses often struggle to find or ask for: mentorship and capital.”
For the 2023 Oregon and SW Washington Women-Owned Business Pitch Contest rules and specifics, including eligibility, submission requirements and the application, visit https://www.mesopdx.org/key4women.
Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) elevates and empowers under-resourced and excluded entrepreneurs to build resilience, equity, and thriving communities through access to capital, tailored business assistance, and education. Founded in 2005 to assist Black-owned small businesses that were experiencing challenges in the wake of gentrification in North and Northeast Portland, the nonprofit now serves more than 600 entrepreneurs and small businesses in Oregon and Southwest Washington each year. MESO is a designated SBA microlender, an IDA fiduciary, and a Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
ABOUT PORTLAND THORNS FC
Portland Thorns FC is an American professional women's soccer team based in Portland, Oregon that plays their home matches at the iconic Providence Park. Established in 2012, the team began play in 2013 as one of the founding teams of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) – the top-ranked professional women's soccer league in the United States. Thorns FC rank among the best globally in attendance across male and female professional soccer clubs. The team has won eight trophies – three NWSL Championships (2013, 2017, 2022), two NWSL Shields (2016, 2021), NWSL Challenge Cup (2021), Women’s International Champions Cup (2021), NWSL Community Shield (2020).
KeyCorp's roots trace back nearly 200 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $198 billion at March 31, 2023. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,000 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.
Key4Women started in 2005 as a campaign to lend $1 billion to qualified women-owned businesses within three years. The program achieved that in two years and has now generated more than $12 billion in loans to women-owned businesses. Membership in Key4Women is free. In addition to helping women business leaders and owners tap into capital to build and grow their businesses, Key4Women members gain valuable access to a team of local Certified Key4Wome Advisors who advocate, connect and empower women on their journey to financial wellness. For more information, visit key.com/key4women.
KeyCorp's roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $176.2 billion at March 31, 2021. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,100 branches and more than 1,400 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.
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