5x5 Night Business Idea Competition Coming to Holland for the First Time Ever

Posted in News on June 29, 2016

Holland, Michigan – The call for big ideas is now open. Holland Smartzone, in partnership with Grand Rapids Start Garden and Lakeshore Advantage, is hosting this pitch competition for early stage ideas at CityVu Events on July 21st at 5:00pm. The community is invited to submit ideas, vote for their favorites and attend the 5x5 Night event.

Anyone with a business idea who could use $5,000 to advance it is encouraged to enter the competition online at www.5x5night.com. The sooner the better, as public voting is open concurrently with idea submission. People vote for the ideas they would like to see presented at the 5x5 Night event, where five entrepreneurs pitch for five minutes to five judges, with the winner taking home $5,000. Voting and idea submission are open now through July 14th.

Holland resident Elsa Vogel, founder of Pieces of Me, a company that uses an individual’s personality traits to create custom wearable merchandise unique to every person, won a 5x5 Night event in August 2015. Her idea gained traction through a collegiate entrepreneurial program, but proof of concept is important to receive investor funding. As a recent graduate, Elsa felt stuck and was unsure of how to get started.

“I had a great idea and big plans, and that's exactly what 5x5 Night was built for,” said Elsa. “Winning 5x5 Night helped me launch my first product in March. I couldn't be more excited about the progress and the future of my business.”

Elsa is scheduled to speak at the Holland 5x5 Night event. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the Premiere Sponsor, and Varnum Law is the Title Sponsor of the event.

“The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is enthusiastic about supporting the 5x5 Night in Holland” said Fred Molnar, VP of Entrepreneurism and Innovation for the MEDC.  “We are especially pleased about the collaboration between Holland and Grand Rapids. Working together to leverage each other’s strengths to help build the entrepreneurial community in West Michigan is precisely the goal of the host SmartZone and satellite relationship.”   

The Holland SmartZone, in partnership with the West Coast Chamber, is also building an Entrepreneurial Support Network (ESN) to pair entrepreneurs with service providers, specifically in the areas of web development, marketing, finance/accounting, human resources, legal/IP and business plan development. Early contributors of this program will receive special recognition at the 5x5 Night event. Organizations interested in being part of the ESN can apply at www.hollandsmartzone.com.

“Many successful area businesses received some sort of assistance and guidance early on,” said Jane Clark, West Coast Chamber president. “We highly encourage Chamber members with the interest, capacity and talent to help entrepreneurs to be part of this network.”

The Holland SmartZone will support high-tech, high-growth entrepreneurs, and plans to preview programming that will be offered at the 5x5 Night event, including the ESN.

“As one of the first efforts of the SmartZone partnership, we’re excited to officially launch the Holland SmartZone to the community, with programming, connections and other efforts to attract and grow high-tech startups,” said Brooke Corbin, innovation solutions manager at Lakeshore Advantage. “The 5X5 Night event is the perfect stage for our programming debut, embodying the hope and possibilities of what is to come.”

More about Holland SmartZone at www.hollandsmartzone.com. Start Garden is the administrator of the Grand Rapids SmartZone and the facilitator of 5X5 Night. Lakeshore Advantage is a non-profit economic development organization that catalyzes resources to drive economic growth in West Michigan, and the administrator of the Holland SmartZone.