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Five finalists named in Pitch Black Muskegon competiton

A store in Boston displays a sign noting its Black ownership on June 24, 2020. Black-owned businesses struggled to get coronavirus emergency loans last year, until community lenders stepped in to help.
Charles Krupa/AP
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Five finalists named in Pitch Black Muskegon competition

The pitch competition for existing Black-owned businesses in Muskegon is offering more than $26,000 in prize packages.

The Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), is sponsoring a pitch competition for existing Black-owned businesses in Muskegon. With more than $26,000 in prize packages, contestants will compete for resources like web development, marketing, branding, social media, accounting and legal services.

Ed Garner, regional director for the SBDC West Michigan region, said the Pitch Black Muskegon competition was designed for business owners who were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the significant impact the last two years have had on Black entrepreneurs.

"Nationally Black-owned business were kind of hit the hardest amongst all the business groups with business closures when the pandemic started," Garner said, "National statistics show up to 41% had to close their doors at least temporarily...We just want to make sure we support them as much as we can to keep them alive.”

The five finalists are Jukia and Robert Fisher of JR Décor, Deanna Gantt of HairbyDVG Beauty Boutique, Kaja Thornton Hunter of Kaja’s Flavor, Destinee Keener of Kuntry Cookin’, and Amanda Price of Amanda’s Frosted Dreams.

The Pitch Black Muskegon event, funded through the federal CARES Act, will take place November 3 at the Muskegon Museum of Art. The finalists will have an opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges, competing for resource packages, totally more than $26,000. The first-place prize package has a value of $10,000.

Community members are encouraged to attend wearing black attire and support their local entrepreneurs.

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