From Staff Reports

BOYNE CITY — The competition is more than three months away, but new businesses can start polishing their pitch.

The Northern Lakes Economic Alliance is bringing back its Northern Michigan Pitch Nights, one each for Antrim, Charlevoix and Cheboygan counties. Entrepreneurs and new businesses two years old or newer present their business plans and compete for cash awards.

The top three winners from each county event have the opportunity to compete for additional startup funding at the Grand Event on Nov. 20 at Boyne Mountain Resort.

Consultants from the Small Business Development Center and Score assist competitors in preparing a four-minute business pitch to panel of judges at the competition. First-, second- and third-place winners will be determined while the audience will decide an additional People’s Choice Award.

The first-place prize of $10,000 at the 2018 event went to Marcella Costin of Simply Marcella (Stormy Kromer). Second place and $5,000 went to Kurtis Damerow of Emmet Drones, third place and $2,500 to Baris Atmaca of Socks Kick.

The People’s Choice and $500 went to Brenna St. Clair of Ellie’s Place.

The doors open at 5 p.m. for all the county competitions with the pitches set to begin at 5:30.

The Charlevoix County Ignite competition is scheduled for Oct. 9 at Castle Farms. Doors open at 5 p.m. with the event set to begin at 5:30. Applications are available at

The Invest Cheboygan County event at the Cheboygan Opera House is set for Nov. 6. Applications can be found at

The final county competition is the Antrim Pitch Night on Nov. 8 at Shanty Creek Resort. Log on to to apply.

More information is available at each of the county websites or by contacting the NLEA office at (231) 582-6482.