| Source: Lansing Economic Area Partnership Lansing Economic Area Partnership
Lansing, Michigan, May 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In a night of creative collaboration, seven local entrepreneurs pitched at The Hatching, Lansing Economic Area Partnership’s (LEAP) quarterly pitch competition. The event, which was open to entrepreneurs in Clinton, Eaton, Ingham and Shiawassee counties, took place May 5 and marked LEAP’s first return to in-person events since 2019. May’s pitch lineup included: a food truck serving authentic indigenous cuisine, a social media platform designed to elevate influencers from marginalized communities, a personal assistant service, an eco-conscious cooperative compost initiative and a game design startup.
“This was one of our most competitive Hatchings to date, both in choosing our seven participants and then selecting the two winners,” said LEAP’s Director of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development Katlyn Cardoso. “We were also thrilled to use this event as an opportunity to feature and support other local entrepreneurs by offering refreshments from three of Allen Neighborhood Center’s incubator kitchen tenants, including Tantay, which took home second prize in the September 2019 Hatching. And of course, thank you to our sponsors, without whom this spectacular return to in-person events would not be possible!”
The top prize went to Bryan Lendzion, who took home $2,000 for his idea Subleasify—a web-based platform designed to make subleasing easier. Lendzion’s pitch won over the judges with its logical approach to a common need—not only is there a high demand for subleasing in a college town like East Lansing, but it also considers the shift in environments resulting from the conflict between an increase in remote work and traditional, long-term leases.
“After I pitched [at the Hatching], I gained a lot of constructive feedback from judges and audience members and seed money that will help uplift Subleasify,” said Lendzion. “We plan to launch our platform this June and use the funding to help us pay app developers to make adjustments as we start to beta test with property management companies around Lansing.”
The $1,000 second-place prize went to One and All program 5 graduate Gloria Trevino, whose mobile yoga studio TheraPLAYoga helps bring radically inclusive, playful yoga to kids, teens and adults. Trevino’s studio provides a safe space for people with physical and developmental disabilities, neurodiversity, sensory processing disorders, health conditions and trauma to safely and effectively manage stress and relieve chronic pain.
“In December of 2021, I made a commitment to myself that business pitching was going to become ‘my thing’, so I HAD to apply to The Hatching,” said Gloria Trevino of TheraPLAYoga. “Pitching is an intensely rewarding way to safely live outside my comfort zone—I love what my pitching mentor, Jerry from The Fledge, says ‘You either win or you learn.’ I was the runner-up, but I still learned SO much. My intention is to use the money to pay for the artistic and print resources needed to create my own curriculum.”
Along with this great lineup of entrepreneurs, the event featured an expert judging panel, including LeTasha Peebles from the MEDC, Theresa Dubiel of Lake Trust Credit Union, Luan Nguyen of Cinnaire, Tony Willis of LEAP, Lori Fischer of the MSU Burgess Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Brett Pacek of CASE Credit Union and LDFA Board Chair Luke Hackney. The event featured the new Lansing Poet Laureate Masaki Takahashi as emcee, who also performed his poetry for the audience during the judges’ deliberations.
“The participants came out in full force, showing their passion, creativity and desire to highlight their business,” said LEAP’s Chief Equity Development Officer, Tony Willis. “Their energy was equally matched by the crowd at the Allen Neighborhood Center— it was clear that entrepreneurship is alive and well in the Lansing region. The Hatching did a phenomenal job highlighting aspiring entrepreneurs of the many demographics and industries that represent the region, including students, seasoned professionals, food-based and tech-related businesses.”
Hosted at the Allen Neighborhood Center and featuring refreshments from incubator kitchen tenants Tantay, Gogi2 and Michigan Made Treats, The Hatching offered an inspiring entrepreneurship environment for a more innovative region and connected participants to a network of local resource providers and individuals dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed.
The Hatching was made possible by the generous support of Venture Sponsor the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Angel Sponsor Lake Trust Credit Union, and Seed Sponsors AF Group, CASE Credit Union, Cinnaire, MSU Desk Drawer Foundation, and MSU Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
“The MEDC is proud to continue our support of the Hatching Business Pitch Competition led by LEAP. This event demonstrates how we break down barriers for entrepreneurs by exposing them to critical resources like coaching and mentorship in preparation for capital opportunities,” said LeTasha Peebles, grant manager of entrepreneurship and innovation at MEDC. “The return to in-person events only amplifies LEAP’s continued commitment to economic vitality and validates our support of this endeavor. We are excited to see the growth and momentum of this program and the return on investment it brings to the Lansing community and beyond.”
The next Hatching event will take place August 25—those interested in participating, pitching or supporting Lansing’s cutting-edge entrepreneurs can learn more at www.purelansing.com/thehatching