Announcement of 2024 Pitch Competition Finalists: Bank of America Presents Athene Black & Brown Business Summit Pitch Competition

WEST DES MOINES, IA (March 12, 2024) – The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce (WDM Chamber) has announced seven finalists for the 2024 Pitch Competition presented by Bank of America at the fourth annual Athene Black & Brown Business Summit presented by Wells Fargo. The event is held at the corporate headquarters of Athene at 7700 Mills Civic Pkwy, West Des Moines, Iowa on April 18-19.

Seven finalists were chosen from a pool of over 100 applicants from across the United States. These finalists will each present a five-minute pitch to the judges. Furthermore, an additional competitor will be randomly selected from the applicant pool on the day of the event.

“We are once again honored to partner with the West Des Moines Chamber for the Black & Brown Business Summit pitch competition,” said Annie Brandt, Senior Vice President and Market Executive at Bank of America Iowa. “At Bank of America, we are committed to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity and look forward to seeing what this year’s finalists will continue to achieve.”

Since 2021, over $100,000 has been awarded to minority business owners. This year’s finalists include:

  • AbgT Shop from Des Moines, Iowa

  • Dtocs LLC from Portland, Oregon

  • Femly from Baltimore, Maryland

  • Flikshop from Washington, D.C.

  • Four Corners Coalition from Waterloo, Iowa

  • Fresh Mediterranean Express from Waukee, Iowa

  • Lightly from North Hollywood, California

One additional competitor will be selected randomly at the event on April 18th. The Pitch Purse currently stands at $50,000 this year. This amount will be divided among eight winners and the judges will determine how the prize is distributed.

“I'm honored to have been selected as one of seven contestants for the upcoming pitch competition during the Athene Black & Brown Summit,” said Dominique Olowolafe, CEO & Founder of Lightly. “This will provide us with an incredible opportunity to spread the Light(ly) and share our creative baby care solutions but more importantly, it underscores the importance of diverse voices contributing to the dynamic startup ecosystem. I look forward to connecting with and drawing inspiration from other brilliant and vibrant BIPOC founders.”

The Pitch Competition is held on April 18th from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. To learn more and register, please visit:

Sponsors and partners of the Athene Black & Brown Business Summit play a crucial role in making this event possible. A portion of sponsor proceeds benefits the Pitch Competition, Presented by Bank of America. Over the past three years, pitch competition winners have collectively received over $100,000 in prize money. For the 2024 event, sponsors, partners, and supporters (listed alphabetically) include: African American Museum of Iowa, Athene, Bank of America, Bankers Trust, Belin McCormick, Black Capital Project/Iowa CORE, Chase, City of West Des Moines, ClaimDOC, Des Moines University, Drake Business Clinic, Dubuque Bank & Trust, Eide Bailly, Elevate by Principal, F&G, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Forvis, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Holmes Murphy (ethOs and Broker Tech Ventures), Hy-Vee, IMT Insurance, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Krause Group, Merchants Bonding, NCMIC, Paychex HR, Sammons Financial Group, Shazam, Inc., Small Business Administration, Symetra, Turner Construction, UnityPoint Health, Wells Fargo, Whitfield & Eddy, Women Lead Change.
About the Athene Black & Brown Business Summit
The Athene Black & Brown Business Summit is an annual event dedicated to providing a platform for Black and Brown professionals, entrepreneurs, and leaders to share insights, inspire change, and foster connections. The Summit serves as a catalyst for growth, empowerment, and collaboration within the community.

About the WDM Chamber of Commerce
The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, established in 1924, is a dynamic organization dedicated to championing all things West Des Moines. With a focus on strengthening local businesses, providing personalized resources, and attracting a top-tier workforce, the Chamber aims to position WDM as the best suburban city in America. Celebrating a century of excellence, the Chamber boasts a diverse community of over 800 members, offering something for everyone. Explore the possibilities, learn more about the chamber, and discover how you can get involved in shaping the future of West Des Moines at

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