The Browns on Wednesday hosted their second Small Business Impact Program Showcase — as part of their partnership with JumpStart — inside the Kardiac Club at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The showcase offered local entrepreneurs from the Cleveland area a chance to pitch their business to a panel of three judges, similar to ABC's "Shark Tank" TV show, with the winner earning $10,000 for their business. All participants provided the judges with information about how their businesses have grown, challenges they face in their industries and stories about what drives them to become successful owners. The judges also asked them questions following their presentation.
Participants included iSlay Cakes, Unique’s Passion, Urbane Vodka, Hola Island Provisions, Pleasant Picnic and Gourmet Girl Custom Cupcakes, with Gourmet Girl earning the top prize of $10,000. All other entrepreneurs still received a $2,500 boost for their companies and graduation of JumpStart's 12-week long small business impact program to prepare them for their pitches.
"We've all learned a lot," said Adenike Harper, the owner of Gourmet Girl. "It's mind-blowing how much I've packed into my mind at this time, but to know that the Browns love the community and want to support us this way is awesome. As a Clevelander, you are automatically a Browns fan. I'm a Browns fan, and to know that I've been invested into by my team is major for me."
The second Small Business Impact Program Showcase is the final of four total events the Browns and JumpStart partnered to create in 2022. The Browns announced the partnership in August with JumpStart, an organization committed to helping entrepreneurs grow by providing high-impact services, pathways to capital and critical resource connections.
“Small Business Training Camp” and “First and Tech” Happy Hour event were previously hosted by the Browns and JumpStart in the late summer and fall and were designed to help educate and provide networking opportunities for entrepreneurs in the Cleveland area looking to elevate their small businesses.
"The variety of entrepreneurs that were exposed to the services and programming that jumpstart provides, in partnership via the support from the Browns, speaks to the commitment that both JumpStart and the Browns have to our community to encourage businesses to thrive in Northeast Ohio," said Lorne Novick, Chief Services Officer for JumpStart. "This is about retention. This is about helping businesses succeed in our entrepreneurial ecosystem, and helping the Northeast Ohio entrepreneurial ecosystem thrive. So the partnership that we've received from the brands and support we've received from the Browns, again, has taken that effort to an entirely different level."
The Showcase was also one of the events the Browns completed on Day 2 of “10 Days of Giving,” where Browns players, coaches and staff will participate in special community events and make meaningful contributions to deserving organizations or individuals.
Any interested business owners who would to participate in future entrepreneurial programs from JumpStart are encouraged to visit https://www.jumpstartinc.org/smallbiz/.