Hopeworks Camden empowers entrepreneurs with 6th annual Spring Pitch Competition

Hopeworks, the Camden-based nonprofit that propels young adults ages 17 to 27 into long-term, living-wage careers, held its annual Spring Pitch Competition on April 13 at the organization’s headquarters.

The competition was offered to Hopeworks trainees, interns and alumni to pitch their business ideas and services to a panel of esteemed judges, for the opportunity to win cash prizes and funding for their entrepreneurial endeavors.

The 2024 competition was a great success, with five entrepreneurs winning cash prizes and funding totaling $9,000.

After hearing pitches across a variety of industries, from fashion and beauty to agriculture and culinary arts, the judges convened and selected a few exceptional ideas from entrepreneurs that stole the show:

Grand prize winner: $4,000

Lola, Lola’s Nail Cafe: Lola is a nail technician specializing in acrylic, GelX and gel manicures, and prides herself on offering intricate nail art to clients.

Runner-up: $2,000

Jeremiah, Precision Craft Studios: Jeremiah was awarded second prize for his two businesses under Precision Craft Studios: FloraHouse and Petal Pods — each offering unique party favors to customers.

Third Place Winners: $1,000 each

Anthony, King Cole Art; Jeniyah, Dipped by Niyah; and Nick, Minimum Apparels.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the support and recognition from Hopeworks and all of the judges. This win is not just a personal victory, but a testament to the power of perseverance and passion in entrepreneurship. With this funding, I’m excited to take Lola’s Nail Cafe to new heights and continue making a positive impact in our community” grand prize winner Lola said.

The generous contributions from Block Inc. (launch sponsor), Wasserman Properties (scale sponsor) and NJM Insurance Group (idea sponsor) were instrumental in initiating the operations of these emerging businesses and facilitating invaluable networking opportunities.

Following the pitch presentations, Hopeworks organized a vendor showcase, enabling entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services.

“At Hopeworks, we believe in the power of entrepreneurship and the transformative impact it can have on individuals and communities. Our annual pitch competition serves as a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas and receive the essential funding they need to bring their business dreams to life,” Angel Serrano, senior director of development at Hopeworks, said. “Through our annual pitch competition, we aim to level the playing field and create a space where all ambitious entrepreneurs can thrive. We believe that by investing in these innovators, we are not just supporting individual businesses, but also stimulating economic growth and driving positive change in our community.”