The Charleston Area Alliance is looking for local innovators with a great idea and startups looking to expand to participate in Thrive, the organization’s community-based approach to supporting local entrepreneurs.
Presented with title sponsorship from Dow Chemical, Thrive gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to take the stage to present their crowdfunding pitch campaign, competing against one another for community members’ votes. The top vote-getting entrepreneur takes home a cash prize to scale up their operation.
“If you have a business or product that could use financial support, we encouraged you to apply to participate in Thrive,” said Chris Ferro, the Alliance’s vice president of economic development. “Whether you have a fantastic new idea or are looking to expand an existing business, Thrive is an opportunity to find local brand ambassadors and possibly take home a cash prize to grow your business.”
Entrepreneurs must complete an online application by Nov. 3 to participate. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges who will select finalists to be featured at Thrive at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the University of Charleston Russell and Martha Wehrle Innovation Center.
Leading up to the event, finalists will meet with Innovation Center business coaches to get tips and suggestions for their respective business plans. Finalists will pitch their business plans in person at Thrive and the top vote-getting entrepreneur will win the capital investment.
Community members pay a $25 entry fee to attend Thrive, which gives them the opportunity to vote for an entrepreneur to support for capital investment. Community member attendance fees are combined with seed capital from event sponsors for the winner’s capital investment. Previous winners have taken home nearly $3,500.
Thrive supporting sponsors include: Appalachian Power, Bowles Rice, Charleston Area Medical Center, Industrial Bolting Technologies, Terrell Ellis & Associates, the University of Charleston and Vision Shared.
Previous Thrive winners include Katie Rugeley of The Initialed Life, Morgan Richards of Morgan Rhea, Emily Sokolosky of Basecamp Printing, Morgan Robinson of Charming Charleston and Jay Cipoletti of Hoopalytics.
to apply for Thrive.