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The Dallas Entrepreneur Center at RedBird (“The DEC@RedBird”) partnered with Comerica Bank on March 23, 2019 to launch its first ever interactive, incubation-inspired pitch competition called “The Nest.” Celebrating the grit, innovation and spirit of Southern Dallas entrepreneurs, The Nest offered resources and training before, during and after the competition to ensure that businesses could “take flight.”
More than 150 community members, influencers, and business leaders attended the competition to support The Nest finalists and to vote for their favorite pitch. The six finalists for The Nest were: 1) Brass Tacks Collective; 2) Revoto, Inc.; 3) Revolt Barbershop; 4) North Texas Capacity Builders; 5) GoodieBoxx; and 6) Education PowerED.
“The DEC@RedBird is extremely proud of all of the dynamic entrepreneurs who pitched on Saturday,” said Michelle Williams, Executive Director of The DEC@RedBird.
“We are excited to bring events like The Nest Pitch Competition to the Southern sector and to share the brilliance of what we know already exists to the rest of the start-up community! Many thanks to our partner, Comerica Bank, for believing and investing in our community.”
Judging The Nest participants were: Brian Foley, Texas Market President of Comerica Bank; Rhonda Davenport, Executive Vice President and National Director of Retail Banking at Comerica Bank; and Matt Houston, Interim President of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce.
Following 6 consecutive pitches at 3-minutes each, Education PowerED won the “audience choice” award of $1,000; GoodieBoxx placed second winning $5,000; and BrassTacks Collective, a creative experience agency, took home the grand prize which included $10,000 in seed funding from Comerica Bank, a year of dedicated space at The DEC@RedBird, access to mentoring from strategy consultants, a branding package from JCI Creatives, a financial literacy/advising session with Comerica Bank, ongoing support from The DEC Network/Capital Factory, and a free membership from The Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce.
“After squeals and tears, I can say that this is extremely validating,” said Keisha Whaley, The Nest winner and Founder of Brass Tacks Collective. “When people are willing to put real dollars into your company, that’s the real sign that you’re doing something significant.
It means so much to me to receive that validation from those with greater financial acumen and more business experience than I. While we work on bringing the business to a new audience, growing the on-staff professional team, and getting settled in our new office, this money will start a ball rolling that otherwise would’ve had to wait another two months to move. Thank you to everyone involved!”
Since its inception, The DEC Network has exercised its commitment to partnering with institutions (such as Comerica) that prioritize the needs of early stage and ambitious entrepreneurs. Through “The Nest”, both The DEC@RedBird and Comerica Bank will strengthen the ecosystem, business and economic growth for the Southern Dallas entrepreneur.