FES pitch competition awards $20,000 to female entrepreneurs, including winners Amy Husted and Audrey Wallace of Komae

CLEVELAND - The fourth-annual Female Entrepreneur Summit, presented Oct. 21 by Contempo Communications and Cleveland Business Connects magazine, introduced a pitch competition this year. Local female entrepreneurs with business ideas were eligible to apply to the pitch competition for a chance to win a grand prize of $10,000 to use toward growing and implementing their businesses.

Seventeen female entrepreneurs were selected to attend FES and participate in a morning of pitch coaching by Denise M. Easterling and Mary R. Heidler of Kent State University. Through the pitch coaching, competitors were given the opportunity to refine and perfect their pitch. The top 10 competitors were then selected to pitch their business idea to the FES attendees in the afternoon. Those competitors were:

Dr. Penny Smith, Alegria Technologies; Kelly Dimacchia, Erie Bone Broth; Michelle Huffman, Fermentation Girl; Amy Husted and Audrey Wallace, Komae; Amparo Vega, Original Cleveland Watch Co.; Sanina Knighton, RKN Inc.; Leah Lewis, Three Butterflies; Suzanne Davis, Urbane Society; Lisa Pucci Delgado, What's For Dinner by LPD; and Rachel Angel, Anexsis.

Each competitor presented a two-minute pitch before FES attendees, and a panel of judges, including Renee DeLuca Dolan, president, Contempo Communications and publisher, CBC; Jennifer Fleiss, co-founder, Head of Business Development, Rent the Runway; Jennifer Hyman, co-founder, CEO, Rent the Runway; Deborah Spake, Dean, Kent State University College of Business Administration; and Gloria Ware, principal, JumpStart, provided feedback and questions about each business. The audience had the chance to vote to choose their favorite product and their favorite pitch while the judges decided on the competition winners.

"It was a privilege to coach such an amazing group of entrepreneurial women and watch their pitching skills improve dramatically over the course of the day," Easterling said. "I congratulate each and every one of these ladies for courageously pitching their business ideas and fearlessly pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams." 

The winners of the audience favorite for best product was Penny Smith of Alegria Technologies and best pitch was Amy Husted and Audrey Wallace of Komae.

The pitch winners were:

  • First place ($10,000) - Amy Husted and Audrey Wallace, Komae
  • Second place ($5,000) - Dr. Penny Smith, Alegria Technologies
  • Third place ($2,500/sponsored by Ursuline College) - Leah Lewis, Three Butterflies
  • Fourth place ($2,500) - Kelly Dimacchia, Erie Bone Broth

"The energy at the event was incredible," Ware said. "Our women entrepreneurial clients enjoyed connecting with other women, practicing their pitches, learning new skills, and meeting other like-minded women entrepreneurs and professionals. We were busy all day meeting and connecting with entrepreneurs, service providers, and supporters. Our team is looking forward to building those relationships and helping women realize their dreams of growing thriving and impactful businesses. The founders of Rent the Runway, keynote speakers, and judges for the day offered both inspiration and practical applicable advice for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. Looking forward to next year."

Please visit cbcmagazine.com for information about the 2016 Female Entrepreneur Summit and other Cleveland business events.


Vanessa Dunne
Administrative Assistant, Social Media
Contempo Communications

POSTED: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 12:00 AM
Updated: Friday, March 24, 2023 02:37 AM