By Miranda Millard
MORTAR’s Pitch Night and Graduation, for the third and final entrepreneurial class of 2015, was an evening of accomplishment and pride. An estimated 350 people were in attendance to support and witness the graduating class showcase their talents and gifts while introducing their businesses to the larger Cincinnati community. It was a night that demonstrated the MORTAR vision of building community through entrepreneurship and gave a glimpse of testament to the notion that entrepreneurship really can change lives.
The event was held at the Brick 939 pop-up marketplace and art gallery launched by MORTAR in November. A venue that’s created space and opportunity for local entrepreneurs over the last month, opened its doors December 15 to celebrate the next great entrepreneurs to carve out a space in the Queen City. That evening, 11 entrepreneurial students (the first MORTAR class to be held in the Walnut Hills community) not only carved out their space but OWNED it like only a BOSS can do.
When the doors opened at 5PM, the recent graduates were excited and prepared. An entourage of family, friends and community members quickly filled the space with a vibe of support. The curious attendees navigated the space during the first hour of the event stopping at each grad’s booth to learn a bit about their businesses and the fabric of expanding dreams was woven into the atmosphere. Pitches began at 6PM as the audience communed in semi-circle around the presentation area, eager to have graduates share their stories, vision and entrepreneurial goals. One-by-one as the graduates took the stage to boldly present their ideas, there was an air of pride not just in themselves but in each other.
Each attendee then voted for their favorite presenter with a token received upon entry and the results were tallied. The top 3 entrepreneurs, Sweets & Meats BBQ, Arsen Boutique and P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens) were selected as the Walnut Hills Sectional winners. They received all of the money raised at the door which will assist them with their startup costs, and will also go on to the finals to compete with other sectional winners during 2016.
This evening was the exclamation point on their successful completion of a 9 week entrepreneurial journey full of desire, hustle and the belief in a ‘dollar and a dream”. The legacies of these graduates have only just begun as MORTAR continues providing entrepreneurs with the space to grow with their neighborhoods and the opportunity to access the resources necessary for continued stories of success. ‘Cause Life’s A Pitch… and then you live.