Apply for Impact Pitch 2019

IMPACT PITCH: Businesses Making Communities Better


Applications Open May 20th - June 19; LIVE Pitch Event September 19, 2019.

Impact Pitch 2019

“When I started the business I wrote a business plan. I thought about what my profit margin would be and the cost of goods, but to really sit down and have an exact spreadsheet and to think what’s next. What does next year look like? What does three years look like? This was so helpful. And I think that’s why the competition was designed, to get business owners who are at the startup or at the idea phase to really think those things through – each step.”

~ Leah Brushett, Founding Owner of Mother Snacker

IMPACT Pitch is a chance for idea-phase, startup, or existing businesses with a strong business plan/idea and a focus on positively impacting their communities to win cash prizes totaling $30,000. While only two businesses will win the top grand prizes, everyone who applies and continues through contest rounds will get something just as valuable: powerful new tools for more effective business planning and strategy, personal business coaching, and more. We offer a host of practical insights and tools to help small business owners become their most successful selves.

Business Impact NW has a mission to help small businesses grow so local communities thrive.  We do this by supporting communities of color-, female-, veteran-, immigrant and refugee-, and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. IMPACT Pitch is an opportunity to provide targeted technical assistance and finance opportunities to all traditionally underserved small business owners who are committed to bettering the local communities that they serve. The contest rounds include the support of our coaching and training staff for contestants, including planning, creating, and/or improving their:

  • Basic Business Plan & Strategy
  • Feasibility: Financials, Market Research, Sustainability Plan
  • Marketing & Outreach Strategy
  • Marketing Video
  • Small Business Pitch

We encourage all current and future small business owners who are positively impacting their communities, or those entrepreneurs who have a feasible business idea to better their community, to apply.  

We also hope to see all supporters of our local economies to join us in supporting these small-business owners at our culminating pitch competition.

The final round LIVE pitch event will be held on September 19, 2019. Tickets available in July/August. View the 2018 finalist videos here.

$10,000 Grand Prize Winners 2018

Positive Spin Pole Dance Fitness LLC

Alyssa Taubin
Best Startup/Early-Staage and Best Women-Owned Business

Positive Spin offers pole fitness classes in Seattle to queer folks, non-monogamous communities, people of color, plus size individuals, and their allies who seek personal growth through dance by fostering a socially conscious pole dance studio that supports discovering and celebrating each individual’s unique artistic and athletic capabilities.

MEND Institute // Formerly Seattle Therapy Alliance

Jacquie Gallaway
Best Established Business

Every year hundreds of counseling psychology graduate students in Seattle provide thousands of hours of free counseling services to meet the clinical requirements for their master’s degree. Seattle Therapy Alliance co-founders Dr. Susan Hall and Julie Cake saw this an innovative opportunity and founded STA in 2009. STA was built with a two-part mission: 1) To provide quality low-cost counseling to the women of Seattle and 2.) To build a clinical and business incubator that trains therapists in intersectional feminist psychotherapy and launches them into private practice. Since STA opened in 2009, we’ve launched over 75 women-owned businesses. That means we turn over our entire caseload once a year so that our interning therapists can leave graduate school with a business that they’ve built. STA’s generative social business model has grown for 9 years and is now under the care of once-intern, now-owner Jacquie Gallaway who bought STA in May 2014. Jacquie has a passion to maintain and expand the healing work outside of Seattle city limits through franchising. She hopes to find social entrepreneurs in cities with a counseling program across the US to open Therapy Alliances so that healing change at the micro can collectively to heal the world.

$2,000 Mission Award Winners 2018

Dorothy's Piano Bar and Cabaret

John Lehrack
Best LGBTQ+ Owned Business

Dorothy's Piano Bar and Cabaret is a place where we bring together both new and seasoned performers and the people who want to hear them. We offer a multi-faceted venue where anyone can sing with a pianist open mic style, sit back, relax and enjoy the singers on the stage, or enjoy a featured performer in our lounge. And here, whether it's some of Seattle's best or performers from around the country, or a first timer, ANYONE can shine! No other venue in Seattle offers this variety of entertainment value for your money.
Our employees are an important part of the entertainment experience as they will not only provide our guests with stellar customer service but will also have the opportunity to entertain the guests.
At Dorothy's we seek to not only entertain you but provide you with a fun and engaging experience where you get to be a part of the fun and the music in any way you choose. We have an elegant yet comfortable space with delicious drinks to help you relax or maybe gain the courage you need to take the mic, as well as small plates and appetizers that will keep you wanting more.

Mikki Co. // Formerly NASTEA & Co.

Minnie Yuan, Karin Soyama & Kathy Tuan
Best Immigrant Owned Business

NASTEA & Co. is the first mover in using white coffee in the ready-to-drink coffee and tea market. Our long-term partnership with well-known suppliers such as MarketSpice in Pike Place Market and a local coffee roaster ensures high gross margins and sustainability. Our current two flavors, white coffee dirty chai and white coffee dirty matcha, leverage the high caffeine content and the smooth, nutty characteristics of white coffee to create drinks that are delicious, fun, and unique for working professionals between the ages of 22 and 45. By the end of 2018 we plan to raise $250,000 to scale production capacity and by the end of 2019 will distribute bottles of NASTEA across the West Coast.

Boon Boona Coffee

Efrem Fesaha
Best Community-of-Color Owned Business

With our move into retail, Boon Boona Coffee will build upon its popularity among its current consumers of green and roasted coffee, by offering a storefront to purchase products, with an added bonus of having a cafe to experience more of our incredible coffee. Boon Boona Coffee will build upon its strong reputation by inviting its current consumers in Western Washington while also developing new relationships throughout the city of Renton.


Jason Cavness
Best Veteran Owned Business

cavnessHR delivers great HR to small businesses up to the time they reach the 50-employee mark. cavnessHR will deliver great HR to small businesses at a cost that is not a burden to them. cavnessHR will be the company every small business with less than 50 employees in the U.S. uses for their HR.

Finalists 2018

DieHard RC

Brenda & Brett Wilson

DieHard RC is a STEM Education and Remote Control Sports promotion company. We currently lease a 50 acre park in Snohomish, Wa. We race drones, RC Cars and Fly RC Airplanes. We also work with local youth to provide summer tech camps, workshops and training throughout the year. I am a veteran and I recently started a Non Profit called Rising Up to help Veterans and underserved youth in a STEM focused education program. We provide all the equipment, mentors and training for the recipient to build a Drone, Car or Airplane. Through mentorship and community we nurture them and help them gain confidence. The Veterans program is focused on veterans who suffer from PTSD and/or mobility issues due to war related injuries. My goal is to train Veterans to build and fly drones as a way to re-educate and retrain them for a future career in the fast growing drone industry as a certified 107 Remote Pilot.

Gigs4U, LLC

Edward Beeson

As a result of creating a live music program for the Port of Seattle at Sea-Tac International Airport in March of 2013, Gigs4U has developed a unique and scalable business model unlike any other. Gigs4U enables our clients to enhance their public or private spaces with live entertainment. We match the client’s requests with appropriate artists from our curated database.
We have developed the largest and most diverse roster of the region’s top live performance artists. We also offer professional production services to fit the venue, from intimate spaces to large amphitheaters; as well as social media marketing services.
We make presenting live entertainment very easy and affordable, and we can deliver it almost anywhere, even on short notice. Our online scheduling platform allows our artists to set their availability, and receive gig details instantly via text messaging. Our clients receive one invoice which covers everything, including our $2 million liability insurance.
The company has grown from $80,000 sales in 2013, to $800,000 projected for 2018. Our clients now include: Downtown Seattle Association, Amazon, Friends of Waterfront, Seattle Parks & Recreation, Microsoft, Columbia Tower Club, Nordstrom, and many more.

Largesse Company

Ilse de Villiers & Anneli Jefferson

Our goal is to be the preferred provider of meaningful promotional products, incentive rewards, and executive gifts. We aim to be a secure source of business for our local and global artisan partners.
Organizations should rely on us for unique and purposeful promotional products and gifts that align with and reinforce their core brand values.
Our target customer is the buyer of gifts and promotional products, in small to mid-sized companies in the Pacific Northwest.
All our products tell a story. We curate fairly-traded and eco-conscious promotional products, incentive rewards and executive gifts from around the world and the US. We facilitate access to corporate buyers, artisans earn a fair living wage while working in safe conditions, and corporate products are gifted that are kind to the planet and its people. For Seattle-based operations, we choose mission-driven partners that are eco-conscious and employ people with disabilities and from immigrant communities.
With Largesse products, corporate gift buyers can put their core brand values at the center of their purchasing. Their end-user feels included in a chain of good, which cultivates a sense of personal connection with the brand and magnifies the impact of the gift.

Rat City Studios

Deborah Schwartzkopf

Rat City Studios engages and builds community through clay – one person, one neighborhood, and one experience at a time. Deb Schwartzkopf, the owner, uses her established career as a self-employed, ceramic artist to bridge communities and draw people together through creativity and shared experiences. Since 2010, her intentionally directed career has snowballed into internationally recognized porcelain tableware designs and ceramic instruction. Momentum continues to build through regular exhibitions, teaching, mentoring, community building, and the advancement of her own artwork.
Rat City Studios is positioned for growth with a strong foundation and clear goals. The key activities of selling branded pottery through diverse channels and offering distinct educational opportunities are sustaining the studio. The business’ strengths lie in its extensive network across communities, professional facilities, and strong web presence. Rat City Studios partners in innovative ways with local businesses and has a solid customer base. The next steps for strategic growth are to augment internal infrastructure and increase educational outreach channels with the addition of online classes. In recognizing strengths and areas of growth, Rat City Studios continues to positively impact the local and global community as a creative enterprise.

Presenting Sponsor

2019 Event Sponsors

Mission Award Sponsors

In-Kind Sponsors

Hosted By

Business Impact NW Sustaining Sponsors

Interested in being an Event or Special Award Sponsor?  View our Sponsor Guide and contact

The Event

An evening dedicated to celebrating diverse entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout the Pacific Northwest, selected semi-finalists will pitch their start-up or established businesses to a panel of judges for the chance to win cash award prizes.

Cash Prizes

Special cash awards include: best startup/early stage venture; best established business; and mission-based awards for categories such as best veteran, woman, community of color, LGBTQ+, and immigrant and/or refugee owned-business.


Business Impact NW and Sponsors provide a networking reception, a chance to mingle with IMPACT Pitch semi-finalist and finalists, and most importantly, the opportunity to support a diverse group of local and underserved small-businesses.


Whether as a competitor for pitch prizes or a community member interested in attending, you make this event possible. Applications for the competition are available in the Spring, and tickets to the Live Pitch Competition will be available in the months leading up to the event.

IMPACT Pitch is presented by Harborstone Credit Union in partnership with Business Impact NW.

Have Questions? Contact