AUSTIN — Hannibal Buress wants to make his childhood neighborhood of Austin one of the premier destinations in the city of Chicago, and the best way to make that happen is to bring businesses, entrepreneurs and the arts back to the neighborhood.
Melvina Masterminds, Buress’s Austin-based community center, will be giving entrepreneurial all-stars a boost this weekend by hosting a pitch competition. Start-ups and prospective business owners are invited to join Buress to pitch their products, services and business ideas to a panel of judges for the opportunity to win cash prizes, consulting sessions with industry experts and more.
The competition is targeted at entrepreneurs who face structural barriers to running a business, so minority business owners and start-ups less than 3 years old will be given priority.
Aspiring entrepreneurs will be able get feedback on their ideas from the panel of judges, which includes Christopher R. Upperman, CEO of Envolve Entrepreneurship, Renee King, Founder of FundBlackFounders, Patrice Darby, Founder of GoNanny, and David Barthwell, founder of Wakandacon.
“At the Melvina Masterminds All-Star Pitch Competition we will have a room filled with founders, entrepreneurs and investors that are pushing the narrative of creating pathways for communities that are often overlooked,” said Melvina Masterminds Chief Operating Officer Tulani Watkins. “This room will help people that aspire to be further than where they are, get to where they want and deserve to go.”
The pitch competition is part of a series of pop-ups that Melvina Masterminds is hosting as the nonprofit develops its science, technology, and arts community center in North Austin. Previous pop-ups have focused on coding, robotics and 3D printing.
The Melvina Masterminds All-Star Pitch Competition will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Amundsen Park, 6200 W. Bloomingdale Ave.
Entrepreneurs as young as 13 years old can register at melvinamasterminds.com.
Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.
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