NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Mighty Dream Forum kicked off its final day on Thursday and one of the centerpiece events was the PitchBLACK awards.
PitchBLACK was a pitch competition where multiple Black businesses pitched their ideas to local entrepreneurs in hopes of winning money they can put towards their businesses.
The competitions started with 40 submissions and then entries were whittled down to just 10 owners who were given the opportunity to pitch their business expansion plans.
The judges then asked the remaining 10 competitors questions, filled out a rubric, and narrowed the businesses down to three.
The three winners that were selected were awarded $4,000 to help their businesses grow.
Adrienne Pearl set out to help build generational wealth in the Black community through real estate.
“In 2053, the generational black wealth is going to be zero. I didn’t want to be a part of that statistic. I don’t want my community to be a part of it either,” she said. “I want to be that change and do that. I wanted to go into this field and buy properties.”
Pearl said she didn’t grow up wealthy and when she got older, she realized how expensive renting a place was. She then got some wise advice that changed her perspective.
“Everything was high, so someone sat me down actually and said you don’t have to rent. You have the credit. This is what you need to know. They gave me the tools and I ran with it,” she said.
After receiving that advice, she made it her mission to share the very same tools she received with others.
“We need resources. We need help. We need support. We need to get in front of the masses. We need to get out information out so we can start changing the mindset and perception and fear of homeownership,” Pearl said.
She went into the “shark tank” at Mighty Dream Forum and pitched her business to the judges. Pearl said she put in a lot of work to impress the judges.
“I stressed everybody out. I put in hours and hours breaking it down. I wasn’t sure how long it was going to be,” she said. “I had to practice, so it was a lot.”
Her pitch moved the judges, which resulted in her being one of the three winners.
“The $4,000 i’ll allow me to be able to give back to the community. Provide a workshop because my business is in real estate,” she said.
Karen Bailey has a non-profit that serves youth and seniors in food deserts. She was also awarded one of the $4,000 checks.
“We are going to use it to empower more youth. We are all about making sure that young people know where money grows and how it can grow in their pockets,” Bailey said
Tanya Rollins-Shadley who was also one of the three winners is the owner of ‘Meliq on the Move.” She said her business provides resources to differently-abled families through community inclusion events.
“It feels amazing. I am happy I stopped crying,” she said.
All the winners said the money would help them move their companies forward.
The final night of the three-day festival will end with a Dinner with a Purpose and a closing night concert featuring Kaytranada.