Rocket Mortgage announced the winners of its fourth annual entrepreneurship competition Tuesday, with all 17 finalists walking away with grants totaling $1 million, officials said.
Businesses submitted video pitches for Detroit Demo Day in place of the annual event, which was canceled from the pandemic.
Finalists were judged by Candice Matthews Brackeen, founder and CEO of Hillman and General Partner at Lightship Capital; Jamie Shea, a Detroit-based entrepreneur who also sits on the board of the University of Michigan Social Venture Fund and Delane Parnell, Founder and CEO of PlayVS.
The competition’s big winner, Paralee Boyd received the top prize of $200,000 for its streamlined salon.
Every finalist received at least a $10,000 grant for their virtual pitches posted on DetroitDemoDay.com. Once viewers stream this year’s episodes, which replaced the previous competitions held in front of crowds, they can vote for their favorite business in each category.
Demo Day organizers said this year’s competition was imperative to help as many small businesses survive through the pandemic.
“Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day has never been more critical than it is this year, and we are proud to deploy needed capital to Detroit’s entrepreneurial community,” Laura Grannemann, Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund, said in a release. “Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we each support the small businesses that make our community strong, diverse and vibrant so that they can survive and thrive.”
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