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Pitch Black GR

Pitch Competition for
Black-Owned Businesses

The Michigan SBDC PITCH BLACK Grand Rapids was a pitch competition aimed toward uplifting Black-owned businesses and a celebration of Black culture. Featuring all Black Contestants, Black Judges, Black Host, Black DJ, Black Music, Black Dancers, Men in Black, and even a Black costumed character, the event was free and open to the public as part of our Uplift Michigan™ initiative.  Oh, and did I forget to mention, audience members were dressed in black too!

Free Live Event!

Shark Tank meets America’s Got Talent! Part Game Show – Part Competition, the final round of PITCH BLACK Grand Rapids was held on Thursday, September 28, 2023 at the Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium in the GVSU’s Pew Campus at the Richard M. DeVos Center.

Twenty contestants completed six weeks of prep training and participated in preliminary rounds leading to seven finalists who competed on stage for over $10,000 in cash prizes; presenting 5-minute business pitches to a panel of judges and a live studio audience.


1st Place

Maneeka Beasley
Cakes by the Jar


2nd Place

Bertina Polk
My Little Love Bugs Childcare


3rd Place

Jessica Ann Tyson


People’s Choice Award – $500

Valerie James
VSJ Fitness


View Photos from Pitch Black Grand Rapids 2023

FINALIST Jina Rockwell
Rockwell Earthworks

FINALIST Maneeka Beasley
Cakes by the Jar

FINALIST Valarie James
VSJ Fitness

Breasia Battle
A Fresh Look Events

Siobhan Williams-Moore
High Vibrations Wellness, LLC

Wali Thomas
GTW Transport LLC

FINALIST Yvonne Cones
Age N Grace

FINALIST Bertina Polk
My Little Love Bugs Childcare

Barbara Johnson
Honeybee’s Kitchen and Catering

Clevon White, Jr.
Divine Dezignz

Reggie Macon
Battleground JKD LLC

Stephanie Briggs
The Fiery Collection

FINALIST Crystal Palasek
Lost Fawn Winery

FINALIST Jessica Ann Tyson
BEASTRO, Fresh Canine Cuisine

Sam Prince
Samber Productions

Alim Price
Royal Wayz

Ebony Wilson
Astonishing Looks By E

Pierre Davon Pascal
Pierre Davon Pascal

Preliminary Rounds

(Sept 19th  & 21st  – Not open to the public.)

Experience GR Headshots

Qi’Shaun Coyle
Program Engagement Coordinator
Experience GR

Sarah Forrest

Sarah Forrest
Business Consultant
Michigan SBDC at Western Michigan University

Ana Jose

Ana Jose
Director of Business Development
Michigan Women Forward

Marvin Martin

Marvin Martin
Center for Employment & Workforce Development
Urban League of West Michigan

Jamiel Robinson

Jamiel Robinson
Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses

Final Round

Sept 28th – Open to the public.

Bernard Drew v2

Bernard Drew
Business Growth Consultant
Michigan SBDC

Marcus Jackson

Marcus A. Jackson
Vice President
Community Impact Manager
Fifth Third Bank

Celeste Spivey

Celeste Spivey
Vice President
CRA/Community Development Officer
ChoiceOne Bank

Kevin Watkins v2

Kevin A. Watkins
Vice President
External Affairs Market Manager
National African American Business Development Manager
Comerica Bank

Renee Williams

Renee Williams
Senior Vice President
Community Development – Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado
Huntington Bank

Awards presented by the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Grand Valley State University.