The D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development awarded $600,000 to the winners of the 2023 “Battle of The Wards” Dream Pitch Competition on Saturday with Ward 8 entrepreneurs taking top honors.
Sixteen finalists from Wards 7 and 8 received cash awards, recognition, exposure, mentorship, resources and networking opportunities.
“I am excited to recognize the impressive accomplishments of these innovative business owners,” said DSLBD Director Kristi C. Whitfield. “They have shown incredible creativity and determination and displayed exceptional talent, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit in various industries. It’s truly exciting to see how their innovations may have the power to revolutionize entire industries and make a meaningful impact on the economic vitality of our city.”
The Dream Pitch Competition is an annual initiative by DSLBD that aims to provide a platform for emerging entrepreneurs to present their groundbreaking ideas and innovative solutions to a panel of esteemed judges and fellow business owners.
First place went to EightFold Farms DC, an urban farm owned by Calvin Hines, winning $20,000. The first runner-up was Ward 7’s Ed Emcee Academy, an educational consulting agency led by Tony Keith Jr., with $17,000.
Braids, Beads & Things received second place in Ward 7. Ashley Travers, the proprietor, got $15,000.
K&J Refinishing Company LLC of Ward 8 placed second in Ward 8 with a $15,000 prize. The company, led by Kimberly Stribling, enhances interior spaces within homes, specializing in refinishing tasks such as reglazing bathtubs, tiles, countertops, and kitchen cabinets.
District Flora LLC in Ward 7, owned by a medical cannabis entrepreneur Bryan Jackson, won $12,000. Urban Rein Vintage of Ward 8 was a third-place finisher owned by Marcus Binion selling contemporary apparel and getting $12,000.
The 10 participants who remained in the battle were granted a minimum of $10,000, while those from the victorious Ward 8 got an additional $500. Other businesses that competed received from $2,000-$7,500.