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

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(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. 

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