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South Side Pitch Competition Awards $26,000 to Local Businesses

South Side Pitch, hosted by the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship in partnership with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement, has announced the winners of their 7th annual pitch competition. A total of $26,000 was awarded to the finalist teams.

South Side Pitch, the shark-tank style pitch competition, had previously focused on supporting early-stage startups. This year, the program pivoted to highlight established South Side businesses and celebrate how they have positively contributed to the lives of their customers, employees, and community members.

Winners were determined based on a combination of the judges’ evaluations and audience votes. This was the first year South Side Pitch was hosted virtually and also the first year they awarded the “Community Favorite” title to the finalist with the most votes from the public. The Community Favorite award, sponsored by United Airlines, also came with an additional $3,000 prize.

Finalist teams included Kido, Maestri Tutoring, New Magnolia Garden Center, TheBlackMall.com, The Lemonade Land, and Wesley’s Shoes. No one went home (or stayed home) empty handed as all finalist teams who did not place were awarded $1,000 for their work. In case you missed it, you can watch a recording of the event, here.

This year’s winners are:

First place ($8,000): TheBlackMall.com

TheBlackMall.com is a marketplace of Black-owned businesses that includes an online business directory and a brick and mortar shop in Chatham.

Second place ($7,000): New Magnolia Garden Center

New Magnolia Garden Center is a U-pick farm and garden center located in Back of the Yards.

Third place ($5,000): The Lemonade Land

The Lemonade Land is a pop-up market for micro Black-owned businesses in the South Shore, Greater Grand Crossing, and Woodlawn area.

Community Favorite Award sponsored by United Airlines ($3,000): TheBlackMall.com

TheBlackMall.com is a marketplace of Black-owned businesses that includes an online business directory and a brick and mortar shop in Chatham.

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