17 Local Businesses Compete for More than $1 Million in Funding as Part of Demo Day

This year’s Rocket Mortgage pitch competition aims to support local entrepreneurs during the pandemic
demo day bonbonbon
Alex Clark (left), owner of Bon Bon Bon, shoots a 90-second video pitch for her business with James Chapman, the co-founder and host of Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day. // Photograph courtesy of Rocket Mortgage Media House

Sfumato Fragrances, BonBonBon, and The Kitchen By Cooking With Que are among the 17 finalists competing for more than $1 million in funding through this year’s Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day, an annual pitch competition that supports local entrepreneurs. In total, 11 businesses will receive $30,000 to $200,000 each.

This year, businesses are competing in three categories that focus on operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Start category is for companies that have launched during the pandemic or have pivoted their model during this time. Those competing in the Sustain category are longstanding businesses that can recover from the financial impact of the pandemic with additional funding. And, businesses in the Build category have a model or product that will allow them to expand during this time.

“This year’s Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day finalists include a diverse set of leaders who have built businesses that are an integral part of the fabric of our community and innovated through the current crisis to offer unique products and services,” says Laura Grannemann, vice president of the Quicken Loans Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Rocket Mortgage. “In a time when our entrepreneurial community is at risk, it is imperative that we arm Detroit-based small businesses with the capital they need to persevere and prosper.”

Quiana “Que” Broden, owner of The Kitchen By Cooking With Que, is competing in the Sustain category. // Photograph courtesy of Rocket Mortgage Media House

Co-working space and café Bea’s Detroit, on-demand jewelry manufacturer Gildform, sustainable materials manufacturer Pivot Materials, online and in-person learning gym Shift Up, and fragrance company Sfumato are competing in the Start category for $75,000 in grant funding.

Meanwhile, artisanal chocolate maker Bon Bon Bon, pet supply shop City Bark, coffee shop Narrow Way Café, women’s boutique The Peacock Room, leather accessories and footwear manufacturer Pingree Detroit, Afro-Caribbean restaurant YumVillage, and vegan demonstration kitchen The Kitchen By Cooking With Que are vying for $50,000 in grant funding in the Sustain category.

And, facial bar Skinphoria, salon Paralee Boyd, digital allergy management platform Alerje, content marketplace Rizzarr, and cheese and charcuterie shop Monger’s Provisions are competing for $200,000 in interest-free loans or equity-like investments.

The competing businesses are now recording 90-second video pitches, which will be released on Oct. 20 on the Detroit Demo day website. A small group of judges will decide which businesses win in each category.

Viewers will also have the chance to vote for three People’s Choice Grant award recipients through Oct. 25. Those winners will each receive $25,000.

For more information, visit detroitdemoday.com.  

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