KeyBank Business Boost & Build and Upstate New York Black Chamber of Commerce to Host "Pitch Your Pivot” Live Virtual Pitch Competition

Posted on August 17, 2021

237153670 4671956292829032 8067259947379951934 N

(SYRACUSE) – August 19, 2021 – The KeyBank Business Boost & Build Program, powered by JumpStart and the Upstate New York Black Chamber of Commerce will host a virtual pitch competition on Thursday, August 19th from 6pm – 8:30pm. The
“Pitch Your Pivot” event will highlight local business owners and entrepreneurs who pivoted during the pandemic to recognize unique business opportunities and overcame challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To register and view this free event please click here.

This event is being brought to the Syracuse community in collaboration with the program’s local partners: CenterState CEO, South Side Innovation Center, WISE Women’s Business Center and Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, who are directly assisting small businesses in the community.

This event will infuse nearly $24,000 of debt-free capital into eight promising and inspiring local small businesses. In collaboration with the Good Life Youth Foundation, three youth finalists will also pitch for a chance to win a $1,500 grand prize.

The five finalists competing for the $10,000 grand prize include:

• Who Want Smoke BBQ & Catering - Tamica Barnett
• It Takes A Village Family Daycare - Tanika Jones
• UrbanTsyr – Latisia Hall-Cannon
• Ecodessa LLC – Caeresa Richardson
• On the One – Jasmine Coan

The KeyBank Business Boost & Build program in New York was designed to stimulate economic growth by partnering with local organizations to provide high-impact technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners in urban neighborhoods that have struggled to access these services in the past. The program has been powered by nonprofit venture development organization JumpStart Inc. and funded by an historic grant from the KeyBank Foundation.

Since 2018, the program has served 1,228 entrepreneurs in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, with 88% of them being women-led or business owners of color, generated $117 million in revenue and made or supported $18 million in capital infusions to Upstate New York’s most underestimated and under resourced small businesses.

In Syracuse alone, this program has infused more than $185,000 in debt free capital to local small businesses through its pitch competitions and the Stabilization Grant Fund established during the height of COVID and executed in partnership with CenterState CEO. These capital infusions were offered in tandem with technical assistance and other business resources to maximize their success.

“All of us at KeyBank are very proud to support the Pitch Your Pivot Event. We thank our partners in Syracuse for their commitment to this program and our community,” said Stephen Fournier, KeyBank Central New York Market President. “We look forward to hearing inspiring stories from local entrepreneurs who pivoted during the pandemic and overcame challenges presented by COVID-19.”

“The comprehensive impact of this grant had been transformational. Providing access to opportunities like the Pitch Your Pivot competition to Main Street businesses who are often excluded from eligibility for similar events can literally change the trajectory of their business and ultimately their community,” said Tamika Otis, Director, KeyBank Business Boost & Build NY. “We have utilized the funding and support from KeyBank to boost our community and build up our local small businesses.”

JumpStart is a nationally recognized investing, entrepreneurial support and economic development organization dedicated to unlocking the full potential of diverse and ambitious entrepreneurs to economically transform entire communities. For more information, visit and follow @JumpStartInc on Twitter.

KeyBank's roots trace back nearly 200 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, KeyCorp is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $181.1 billion at June 30, 2021. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of more than 1,000 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name.

For more information, click here.

KeyBank is Member FDIC. 

CEO News

SUNY Oswego Syracuse campus
CEO News | 08/31/2023

Help Train The Next Generation Of High Tech Workers

A vital part of CenterState CEO’s work to prepare the Central New York workforce for high-tech careers availab

Thank You Northland Communications graphic
CEO News | 08/31/2023

Northland Communications Provides Dedicated Internet for The Tech Garden

Northland Communication Theater is first named space within The Tech Garden.

Certificates presented to Race For Equity drivers are displayed on a table.
CEO News | 08/22/2023

Race for Equity Raises More Than $27K to Support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

CenterState CEO recently hosted the second annual Race for Equity event at the Pineview Run racetrack, in Lafa

Alan Rottenberg speaks on Career Apprenticeship Initiative
CEO News | 08/09/2023

International Partnership Pilots Career Apprenticeship Initiative to Retain CNY Graduates

Career Apprenticeship Initiative in Central New York aims to retain more of this college-educated talent in the region.

Officials pose with a signed beam from CenterState CEO's The Tech Garden.
CEO News | 08/09/2023

Transformational Tech Garden Expansion Kicks Off

$32 Million Project Will Add 46,000 Square-Feet of Space to the Facility, Including the Addition of a Second and Third Floor

Syracuse Surge Accelerator finalists announced
CEO News | 08/07/2023

CenterState CEO Announces Syracuse Surge Accelerator Finalists

Inaugural cohort comprised of five teams from Central and Upstate New York. The accelerator is a core program of Syracuse Surge, the city’s strategy for inclusive growth in the New Economy.

EC Nominate 2023
CEO News | 08/02/2023

Nominate an Economic Champion Today!

Nominations for 2023 Economic Champions are open!

CenterState CEO New Website Homepage
CEO News | 07/26/2023

CenterState CEO Launches New Website

CenterState CEO’s website,, rece

New York State Semicon West Booth
CEO News | 07/26/2023

CenterState CEO Team Attends SEMICON West

CenterState CEO’s Rob Simpson, Dominic Robinson and Honora Spillane, along with Onondaga County and New York s