Apr. 9—The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce has launched S.H.E. Pitch, a new initiative chamber officials say is aimed at developing and enhancing female entrepreneurship in the county.
The competition for female CEOs — "S.H.E.-EOs," as project organizers call them — is designed to give businesses in various phases of development cash prizes, publicity and networking opportunities, according to chamber leadership.
"We're very proud that the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce focuses energy on recognizing and celebrating women and minority-owned businesses," Chamber President and CEO Rick Weldon said in a prepared statement. "We believe wholeheartedly that one of the key components of our economic success is the diversity and creativity of our owners and business leaders."
Eligibility for S.H.E. Pitch is based on a set of criteria established for two categories of competitors — those in the idea stage of their business and those in the growth stage. Organizers say registration requires $26 to develop the necessary materials for judging and progression through the competition. Interested entrepreneurs are encouraged to enroll in April given the process involves online coursework and submission deadlines, per the chamber.
Finalists in both categories will pitch their businesses to a virtual audience on Aug. 26 as part of S.H.E. Week 2021 programming. Winners will be announced during the live event, with audience members also getting the opportunity to vote and award their favorite pitch a "People's Choice" prize.
Jennifer Gerlock, vice president of the chamber, thanked the economic development offices from both the city and county of Frederick, the Maryland Women's Business Center and Octavo Designs.
"Their vision, financial prize investments and work on behalf of established and emerging female entrepreneurs is nothing short of inspiring," Gerlock said in a statement.
S.H.E. Week, which features events celebrating the Strength, Heart and Equality of women in Frederick County, begins Aug. 22, with enrollment open now. More details on the process, eligibility and registration can be found at frederickchamber.org/shepitch.