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InnoVentures is a pitch competition and fundraiser that puts women-, LGBTQ-, and people of color-owned businesses in the spotlight.

Last year, over 220 community members and entrepreneurs gathered at Lagunita’s Brewery for our second annual InnoVentures. Thank you to our community of supporters, business owners, staff, and friends who helped make 2018’s event a huge success.

We work hard to demonstrate the value of innovation and entrepreneurship for our business owners. InnoVentures is an intentional effort to do something unique. Instead of a traditional nonprofit gala, we’ve created a dynamic event that strengthens local microbusinesses by educating, empowering, and equipping entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level.

How it works

Ventures’ entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of judges and hundreds of community members like you. Fifty business owners applied to participate in a bracket-style competition to the final event, where six entrepreneurs are judged on community need, entrepreneurship, innovation, feasibility, and presentation.

Contestants spend months honing their five-minute pitches with the support of experts and coaches teaching them the best techniques in public speaking and presenting. Even better, if they make it to finals, they go home with cash and prizes to grow their businesses. 

March 28th is the culmination of three months of hard work, training, practice, and grit.

Participants develop and present an innovation, strategy, or product that grow their businesses. They work with coaches before the final event to develop and refine their pitches through clinics and preliminary competitions with the ultimate goal of advancing to the InnoVentures Finals on Thursday, March 28th.

“Hands down the best thing I gained was confidence. Pitching to a roomful of people really helped me own Clary Sage Studio as a business, not just a vocational exploration or hobby. The process of pitching over and over gave me a better understanding of why this work matters to me, and it helped me become ready to grow and expand.” – Katie Clary, InnoVentures 2018 Finalist

InnoVentures Winner: Francine Moo-Young

InnoVentures Finalists

InnoVentures Semi-Finalists

Chantel Jackson