West Des Moines Chamber Announces Pitch Competition Winners for Athene Black & Brown Business Summit

WEST DES MOINES, IA (April 19, 2024) – The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners of the 2024 Pitch Competition Presented by Bank of America for the fourth annual Athene Black & Brown Business Summit Presented by Wells Fargo. The event was held at the corporate headquarters of Athene in West Des Moines, Iowa on April 18-19.

For the 2024 event, more than 100 applications were received from across the U.S., including several from Iowa. Seven finalists were chosen in early April to give a five-minute business pitch in front of judges at the event. In addition, one final pitch contestant was chosen at random during the event, for a total of eight competition contestants. This year’s Pitch Competition finalists were:

  • 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

  • Redefine and Reveal from West Des Moines, Iowa

“Congratulations to this year’s pitch competition winners and thank you to all the contestants and participants. Their pitches truly showcased what it means to be an entrepreneur, bringing innovative ideas to their communities,” said Annie Brandt, senior vice president and market executive, Bank of America Iowa. “This event exemplifies the power of connection for entrepreneurs and Bank of America is honored to continue to be involved in this annual event.”

With the support of generous sponsors and donors, $50,000 was raised for the 2024 Pitch Competition winners and finalists. Since 2021, more than $150,000 has now been awarded to minority business owners. This year’s Pitch Competition winners include:

  • First Place Winner: Femly - $20,000

  • Second Place Winner: Lightly - $15,000

  • Third Place Winner: Fresh Mediterranean Express - $10,000

Additional finalists each received $1,000 including:

  • AbgT Shop

  • Dtocs LLC

  • Flickshop

  • Four Corners Coalition

  • Redefine and Reveal

“Femly is on the forefront of a mission to increase organic feminine hygiene access through smart dispensing,” said Arion Long, Founder & CEO of Femly. “We are overjoyed to be a finalist & top-prize winners of $20,000 in the Athene Black & Brown Pitch Competition. This award will allow us to expand and partner with colleges, hospitals, hotels, and more throughout Des Moines. We’re so thankful to have the support of the community and West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce.”
To learn more, visit: www.wdmchamber.org/BBBSummit.

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 IA, Alliant Energy, Amplified DSM, Anthony Arroyo Photography + Creative, Athene, Bank of America, Bankers Trust, Belin McCormick, Black Capital Project/Iowa CORE, BMO, Chase, City of West Des Moines, ClaimDOC, Cocoa Creative Agency, Creative Planning, Delta Dental, Des Moines University, Drake Business Clinic, Dubuque Bank & Trust, Eide Bailly, Elevate by Principal, EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, 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, Iowa Small Business Development Center, Krause Group, Merchants Bonding, NCMIC, One Economy Financial Development Corp, Paychex HR, Sammons Financial Group, Shazam, Inc., Small Business Administration, Smash Park, Symetra, Turner Construction, UnityPoint Health, We Are Iowa, Wells Fargo, Whitfield & Eddy, and 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 wdmchamber.org

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