VVM’s Expo Pitch Contest to Feature Debut of InnovateHER

SPRINGFIELD — A popular tradition will continue at the 2015 Western Mass. Business Expo on Nov. 4, with a Pitch Contest presented by Valley Venture Mentors (VVM). And this year’s competition will have a new and intriguing twist.

The contest, which represents a partnership between VVM, the Economic Development Council of Western Mass., and the Small Business Administration, will feature the debut of the InnovateHER pitch competition. The InnovateHER Challenge is a national prize competition aimed at unearthing products and services that impact and empower women and families through local business competitions.

The winner of the Nov. 4 VVM Pitch Contest will advance to the next round of the national InnovateHER competition, with a chance to compete for $70,000 in prize money. The five contestants at the VVM competition, who will have booths at what’s known as Startup Row and thus can be visited by Expo attendees throughout the day, are:

• AuthenFOOD, which enables customers to order food online and reviews local chefs and bakers who have unique and authentic culinary backgrounds for home delivery or take-out;
• Bhlue Publishing, LLC, which provides career guidance for young people that focuses on success without a four-year degree;
• Do+Make Business District, an online community and school for what it calls “solopreneurs escaping the 9-5”;
• Hot Oven Cookies, which promises to “deliver comfort in a cookie”; and
• Wonder Crew, a toy company that “offers boys a more expansive play experience, one where they can be strong and emotionally connected.”
Expo attendees will have the opportunity to choose which of those five they think will prevail in the competition. Those who guess correctly will win a door prize.

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