Finalists revealed for 2021 Detroit Demo Days competition | RopSport

Finalists revealed for 2021 Detroit Demo Days competition


Fifteen finalists will compete for a share of more than $1 million in funding in the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day, the company’s fifth annual entrepreneurship competition.

The finalists were selected by a panel of Detroit-based entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The group includes 12 Black-owned businesses, according to a release, and more than half of the finalists represent woman-owned companies.

The winner will be announced during a Sept. 24 virtual event. The finalists will be judged by a panel of entrepreneurs and past Detroit Demo Day winners.

One winner will be selected in four categories: “start,” for businesses launches and introducing a product or service to the market; “pivot,” businesses forced to adapt to the pandemic to meet the needs of the moment; “scale,” for long-standing community anchor businesses looking to grow; and a new “youth” category for emerging entrepreneurs age 8-18. This year, each of the 15 finalists will receive a $25,000 grant, the release states.

“Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day personifies our commitment to catalyzing Detroit’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and building neighborhood wealth,” said Laura Grannemann, Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Rocket Mortgage and Rocket Companies, in a statement. “Access to equitable capital is more important than ever. Providing significant grants to all finalists allows them to invest in their future and puts them on a path to success.”

Finalists will also compete for a People’s Choice grant within their category worth $25,000. Voting for the People’s Choice awards, which will take place on the Detroit Demo Days website, opens Sept. 20 and winners will be announced during the virtual event.

“With this year’s Detroit Demo Day, we are excited to celebrate the newest cohort of winners, while also reflecting on the impact of this work over the past five years.” said James Feagin, Director of Entrepreneurship at the Rocket Community Fund. “Detroit has top entrepreneurial talent, and we are thankful that this platform has been able to elevate them and help them take their businesses to new levels.”

The 2020 competition saw each of the 17 finalists earn $10,000, with the winner taking home $200,000.

Applicants must be a for-profit business with a product or service that has shown substantial traction, or is available for sale. The business cannot have exceeded $2 million in annual revenue or raised more than $1 million in capital. To be eligible, companies must be based in Detroit or committed to relocating to the city.