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TiE Tampa Bay raises over $100k toward pitch competition for women and minority founders

Veronica Brezina



TiE Tampa Bay is investing and participating in the new ACCESS Pitch Day event where minority and women-owned businesses compete for funding and resources.

TiE Tampa Bay has raised over $100,000 for the event that awards finalists a total of $400,000.

The event, which is slated to be held on Aug. 28 from 2.p.m. through 5:30 p.m. at Emory University in Atlanta, is held in partnership with the TiE Atlanta and Carolinas chapters.

“What’s incredible this program is that it’s all volunteers of TiE, there isn’t any carried interest like how other pitch events can be,” TiE Tampa Bay President Richard Heruska told the St. Pete Catalyst. Heruska was named president earlier this year. He was previously a program director at Tampa Bay Wave.

The ACCESS program, which started in 2020, aims to close the mentoring and funding gap experienced by women and minority-owned businesses in the Southeast US. There will be six entrepreneurs competing this year. One of the startups competing includes Miami-based startup Kushae, which developed the first and only OB/GYN-created, full-suite of non-toxic feminine hygiene products.

The pitch competition will be a hybrid event, both virtual and in-person at the university.

The first-place winner will receive $150,000.

Beyond the monetary amount, the winner will receive tickets to the TiECON Florida 2022 conference and other membership perks.

“Even while someone may not win the monetary prize, there will be Florida Angels Network investors in the room and oftentimes, they will connect with them,” Heruska said.

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