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Denver Start Up Week is a celebration of all things entrepreneurial. It’s the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind. Hundreds of participants submitted video applications to compete in the week’s annual pitch competition. The DSW planning committee narrowed this down to 18 businesses, then the community voted on the top 6 businesses to pitch at the final event. Thus, presenting at this level is competitive!
This year was the 4th annual Youth Pitch Competition, which also marked 6 years of collaboration between Young Americans Center and DSW. As part of our partnership with DSW, the Youth Pitch winner receives an entry into this highly competitive final pitch event.
This year the Youth Pitch Competition featured 3 businesses. Garrett Eisenman, 16, runs Denver SNKRS, where he restores and resells the top collectible shoes on the market. Fifteen-year-old Anna Brekken hand-makes and sells greeting cards for every special occasion with her business AnnaMade Design Co. The final business, Little Sistas Treats, is run by 11-year-old Char’Les and 13-year-old Zyaire Hawkins. These sisters sell a variety of treats such as cheesecake cones, rice krispy treats and cookies. At the Youth Pitch event, our judges, who were equity investors and various entrepreneurs, needed extra time to make a decision. They were so impressed by each young entrepreneur. The judges finally announced Little Sistas Treats as the winner that moved onto the Final Pitch Competition, where they pitched among adult entrepreneurs. During finals, they wished other competitor’s good luck and were able to network in the audience, passing out treats and business cards.
On stage, Char’les and Zyaire expressed confidence and shared how rewarding it is working with their sister. They finished their pitch by dazzling the audience, singing their company jingle. When the judges were ready to announce the winners, the room fell silent. Third place was ICONI, an all-inclusive activewear brand. In second place, Little Sistas was announced! The room was filled with excitement for the girls as they came on stage to accept their prize. The winner of the event was Ride IQ, a learning platform for equestrians. Little Sistas Treats was overjoyed with the outcome, and they were incredibly proud of themselves. As part of their second-place finish, Little Sistas won a prize package worth $8,000. They plan to invest this into a food truck, which has been a long-time dream of theirs. YouthBiz is so proud to work with and support incredible young entrepreneurs like Char’les and Zyaire!