Judges at Impact Pitch

Impact Pitch: Sparking Resiliency, Adaptation, and New Ideas in a Time of Uncertainty

Impact Pitch officially opened last Friday with contest applications now being accepted through June 30th. While the usual fanfare has been quelled by a stalled economy and a pandemic that has gripped our nation for months, the spirit of the competition could not be more important. With a fresh new contest structure and a live virtual pitch format, this year’s competition is more accessible than ever!  Presented by Harborstone Credit Union, we are so excited about Impact Pitch!

In alignment with Business Impact NW’s mission of growing businesses that create jobs in underserved communities, Impact Pitch is about elevating the small businesses that are making communities better. The focus has always been less on the competition-side, and more on providing an opportunity for traditionally underserved small business owners who are committed to bettering their local communities to receive targeted technical assistance along with financial incentives and opportunities. The competition serves as a framework for effectively delivering that support to as many small business owners as possible under an organizational vision that all business owners have an equal opportunity to succeed.

This year, the focus remains the same, but the contest structure has been altered in a way that better supports the immediate needs of the small business community. Business Impact NW’s President & CEO, Joe Sky-Tucker, said in discussing the contest goals: “The need is so massive. This year, we’re trying to get as much money into the hands of as many businesses as possible.” In response to the uncertainty and social distancing guidelines we will still face in coming months, another major change to the contest structure this year is its culmination in a live virtual pitch event on Thursday, October 8th at 5:30pm instead of the usual in-person event.

With $30,000 in total prize money, this year’s Impact Pitch will feature cash awards throughout the competition:

  • Twelve $500 Business Model Awards given in the early rounds to contestants in traditionally underserved population groups
  • Ten $800 Finalist Grants for each contestant making the final pitch
  • Three $5,000 Grand Prizes for each of the three business stage categories and one $1,000 Audience Favorite Video award at the live virtual pitch event

For established businesses that have continued to push through in unprecedented times or for those established businesses who have been sidelined and are now exploring reemergence, Impact Pitch has a place for you.

For early stage businesses that went from confidently executing a business plan and building a new customer base to quickly having to adapt or reinvent their business models and strategies, Impact Pitch has a place for you.

For those entrepreneurs who see new concepts and opportunities in these trying times or for those who have had to start over, Impact Pitch has a place for you too.

The spirit of small businesses will not be broken by COVID-19. Small businesses are too important to the fabric of our communities. We are seeing community members coming together to support each other through every successive challenge the pandemic has brought and will continue to bring. Our local small business communities will come out of this stronger – there is no doubt. It will happen because of resiliency, adaptation, and new ideas throughout all stages of business and we hope that Impact Pitch can be one of the sparks for those that will positively impact the community.

For complete rules, regulations, and application submission instructions for Impact Pitch, please visit: https://businessimpactnw.org/impact-pitch/

An informational webinar will be hosted on Monday, June 1st at 1:30pm to provide an overview of the Impact Pitch competition with Q&A time. Register for the webinar here: https://businessimpactnw.org/event/impact-pitch-2020-contest-overview-w-qa/

About the author

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Henry Wong
Program Director, Food Business Resource Center (FBRC) & Special Projects at

Henry Wong is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Systems and Information Engineering. Prior to joining the Business Impact NW team, he spent 7 years working in the Strategy group at CarMax developing and implementing inventory and buying strategies. Following his time at CarMax, he spent 3 years running his own mobile food truck business and consulting other mobile food start-ups in Tennessee. After selling his food truck, he moved to Seattle where he worked briefly with a food delivery tech startup. He did contract work for some local nonprofit organizations, including Business Impact NW, before joining the organization full-time. Having grown up around a family-owned restaurant and as a former entrepreneur, Henry understands the unique challenges that small business owners face. He also knows their advantages and the incredible value they can bring. Henry is passionate about leveraging his extensive experiences in strategy and operations to support clients in any stage of their business and strategic planning from concept to growth.

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Henry Wong View posts by Henry Wong

Henry Wong is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Systems and Information Engineering. Prior to joining the Business Impact NW team, he spent 7 years working in the Strategy group at CarMax developing and implementing inventory and buying strategies. Following his time at CarMax, he spent 3 years running his own mobile food truck business and consulting other mobile food start-ups in Tennessee. After selling his food truck, he moved to Seattle where he worked briefly with a food delivery tech startup. He did contract work for some local nonprofit organizations, including Business Impact NW, before joining the organization full-time. Having grown up around a family-owned restaurant and as a former entrepreneur, Henry understands the unique challenges that small business owners face. He also knows their advantages and the incredible value they can bring. Henry is passionate about leveraging his extensive experiences in strategy and operations to support clients in any stage of their business and strategic planning from concept to growth.
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