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5 Muskegon entrepreneurs pitch ideas in 5 minutes for $5K

5 votes, 5 ideas, 5 minutes, 5 judges and $5,000. It's 5x5 night in Muskegon.

MUSKEGON, Mich. - A group of entrepreneurs presented their business ventures in hopes of winning $5,000.

Grand Rapids-based Start Garden organized 5x5 Night at Muskegon Community College's downtown campus Wednesday night.

Five finalists presented their ideas to five judges in five minutes -- with hopes of winning the prize money. This year's finalists included:

  • Emily Austin: Elemental, LLC; thermal bras designed for breast cancer survivors.
  • Tom Kinczkowski: Just Duckin' Hunting chairs with a backrest for hunters.
  • Tacitus Bailey-Yabani: Abeshi FYAH Truck, a food truck that will serve authentic West African cuisine based on his grandma's West African recipes.
  • Destinee Keener-Sargent: Kuntry Cookin'; intends to add a food truck and new equipment to a Muskegon home-based food business.
  • Jhaelynn Elam: Food Feels Flava (FFF), an organization that offers food-focused group traveling experiences.

While 5x5 Night has been held in Muskegon before, Wednesday's event was held at MCC's Lakeshore Fab Lab for the first time. It officially opens June 1.

"We thought by taking this to these locations, it might invite more to participate, invite people to come and support the entrepreneurs in the community," says an organizer.

All of the entrepreneurs agreed that more events like this are needed to keep West Michigan's economy strong. Start Garden is planning on holding another pitch night in Muskegon later this year.

If you're interested in voting for the next set of 5x5 entrepreneurs, click here.

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