10 Oregon and SW Washington start-up and existing WOB businesses will compete for $50,000 in awards
Submitted by KeyBank
PORTLAND, Ore., September 21, 2023 /CSRwire/ – KeyBank’s Key4Women program, Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO), and the Portland Thorns FC today announced 10 finalists have been selected to compete in a business pitch contest for women-owned businesses located in Oregon and SW Washington.
Selected from a pool of 210 applicants and judged by a panel of qualified representatives, the finalists will compete for cash awards totaling $50,000. The grand prize winner will earn $20,000.
“We are excited to announce our finalists today, so much to be proud of,” said Rachael Sampson, chair, Key4Women. “Women business owners and leaders positively impact our economy and communities in powerful ways every day, which is evident based on the strength and diversity of the applications we received. We thank all of those who applied and wish them the best of luck on their business ventures.”
“MESO has always known women entrepreneurs have the power to change the small business landscape,” said MESO Executive Director Cobi Lewis. “We are honored to be part of an event that will provide a chance for others to experience that passion, innovation and determination.”
“The Portland Thorns are proud to support this innovative program,” said Todd Spear, SVP of Corporate Partnerships for the Portland Timbers & Thorns. “We know women in business bring exciting innovation and we wish all ten finalists the best of luck with their pitches."
MESO provided application support and mentorship to women-owned businesses throughout the application process. They will also provide workshops and mentoring to the finalists to help them prepare their pitches.
To be eligible, businesses had to 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.
The finalists will present a 4-minute pitch and field questions for 6 minutes on November 16th at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. The event, which is open to the public, will also be livestreamed by the Thorns. To learn more visit https://www.mesopdx.org/key4women
Final awards will be chosen by a panel of five judges, used to determine winners include the quality of the presentation, clarity of business vision and mission, economic impact of the idea and the soundness of value proposition.
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 $195 billion at June 30, 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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