Entrepreneurs to make final pitch in Springfield Hustles competition

Ten finalists will face off in a, “Shark Tank” style, winner-take-all, pitch competition in Springfield tonight.

The winner of the Springfield Hustles competition will take home $76,350 in prizes — and a check for $10,000. Finalists for the competition were narrowed from 133 contests from Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and across the Springfield region, according to a post on the competition’s Facebook page.

One of the competition’s creators, Blake Shaffer, said previously the purpose of the competition is to give a start-up business everything they would need to be successful in its first year.

“We hope that it inspires a bunch of people to take that risk and make the jump,” Shaffer said. “We are hoping to spark between 10 to 20 businesses in downtown Springfield in coming years. We want people to get involved in this and say, ‘I really want to do this.’”

The 10 finalists that will pitch their business ideas to a panel of three judges will include; Substance Abuse Prevention Institute, PIPE AG, Inveloped Cards, Rock Climbing Gym, GLAM on the Go, LLC, Bike Store, Bows and Blooms Designs, Skin Deeper, Aero Imagine Solutions and Bailey Bug, LLC.

The judging panel for the competition will consist of Jason Duff, Lauren Tiffan and Matthew Davis.

Duff is the founder of Small Nation, which encompasses a group of companies, leaders and investors who develop places, spaces for small towns and small town entrepreneurs across the country, according to his website.

Duff is also a regular contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc magazines and was recognized by the White House as one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs of 2013 and 2015.

Tiffan serves on the board of the Aruna Project, an anti-human trafficking organization. She has also created her own startup, worked in startups and worked for startups as a consultant.

Tiffan is currently creating and managing Air Force SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) programming.

Davis is the co-founder and CEO of COhatch, a work and social space startup born in 2016 that has quickly grown to 12 locations in Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and soon, Springfield.

He is also an active investor in small businesses, serving as a partner in Mesh Fitness in Dublin and Bubble’s Tea and Juice Company, which has numerous locations in the Dublin and Columbus area.

Springfield Hustles Final Pitch will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the John Legend Theater located at 700 S. Limestone St. in Springfield. The event is free and open to public. Tickets are not required.

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