The Right Place launches rural West Michigan pitch contest

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MIPitch is based on another Right Place pitch event, Pitch North, which was created in 2019 to help entrepreneurs in Newaygo, Oceana and Lake Counties. Courtesy The Right Place

A West Michigan economic development agency will host a pitch competition for innovative business ventures in Ionia and Montcalm counties.

Grand Rapids-based The Right Place said last week that it will host a new event, MIPitch, which will invite Montcalm- and Ionia-based businesses to pitch their ideas and compete for thousands of dollars in cash prizes.

The event is Sept. 21 at Candlestone Resort in Belding.

Its goal is to help launch new businesses and cultivate entrepreneurial growth in the two counties.

Travis Alden Courtesy The Right Place

“Entrepreneurship continues to be critical to the success of rural communities, especially as they continue the economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Travis Alden, business development director at The Right Place and coordinator of MIPitch. “When people start and grow businesses, they contribute to the economic diversity of their area. These unique local businesses become differentiators for their communities.”

Submissions for MIPitch are being accepted here through Aug. 20. Business ideas can range from brand new business concepts to catalytic additions for existing businesses and can come from someone with a simple dream or an established business owner. No idea is too small or too big, but it does need to be new and exciting, The Right Place said.

A committee of local business and community leaders will review and score all submissions and select five finalists to present their pitches at the Sept. 21 event. All five finalists will be awarded cash prizes.

The public is welcome to attend the free event, which will be held in conjunction with business after-hours events by local partners Ionia Area Chamber of Commerce, Belding Area Chamber of Commerce and Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. RSVP information will be announced at a future date.

MIPitch is based on another Right Place pitch event, Pitch North, which was created in 2019 to help entrepreneurs in Newaygo, Oceana and Lake Counties.

“We know that individuals living in rural areas often have less access to funding and resources to pursue these endeavors, so Pitch North was created to change that,” Alden said. “That event has seen great success in its three years, as it’s helped launch more than a dozen new businesses and fostered a new entrepreneurial ecosystem in those counties, so we hope MIPitch has the same outcomes.”

MIPitch is presented by The Right Place in partnership with the Ionia County Economic Alliance and the Montcalm Economic Alliance. The presenting sponsor is Consumers Energy. Additional supporters include Isabella Bank, Michigan One Community Credit Union, The Daily News, Candlestone Resort, Mercantile Bank, Montcalm Community College and the United Way of Montcalm – Ionia Counties.

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