‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition,’ Led by the SPCC Small Business Center, Supported by Fifth Third Bank, Opens May 1

South Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Center is leading the fourth-annual 53 Ideas Pitch Competition, an initiative that began in 2020 with support from Fifth Third Bank to provide anyone with an idea access to the capital, training and social connections needed to turn it into a viable business.

Contestants will not only compete for cash awards; they will also access training resources and expanded networks to build social connections. Training and coaching on pitching, financing, forecasting and general business will be available to every participant, even if they do not make the top 53. These free resources will be offered by Small Business Centers located at community colleges throughout the region, including Central Piedmont, Cleveland, Gaston, Mitchell, Rowan-Cabarrus, South Piedmont and Stanly.

“We are excited to host the 53 Ideas Pitch Competition again this year and appreciate the continued support of Fifth Third Bank,” said South Piedmont’s Director of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Renee Hode. “We are aware of the challenges and inequalities in entrepreneurship, and this competition provides access to training, coaching, capital and exposure to propel ideas into businesses.”

To enter, individuals have 53 seconds to share their idea in the form of a video submitted at 53ideas.com. Round one is based on the idea. Contestants do not have to be pitch pros. They just need to share who they are, their idea, the problem it solves, how it is new or superior to an existing product or service, and how they can make it happen.

Judges will select the top 53 ideas, and those contestants will move on in the competition to receive training to help them prepare a 3-minute pitch for the second round of the competition. Judges will then narrow the field to the top 10 and those selected will receive $250 before moving forward to compete in the Pitch Day finale.  The first-place winner will receive $10,000, the second-place winner will receive $5,000, and the third-place winner will receive $2,500 to help turn their idea into a viable business.

“We are committed to supporting entrepreneurship across this region and throughout North Carolina,” said Joel Dancy, Vice President, Community & Economic Development, Carolinas Region, Fifth Third Bank.  “We are very excited to be supporting the 53 Ideas Pitch Competition for the fourth year in a row because it not only helps in the short term with access to capital for the winners, but it also helps in the long term through financial education for all participants.”

Last year’s competition received more than 100 entries. Faith Griffin, creator of the Shaving Step, Kimberly Evans, founder of Just Her Ride Share, and Carly Rhyne, founder of Ellipticraft, took the top three awards.

To learn more and enter this year’s pitch competition by the May 31 deadline, visit 53ideas.com.

 About South Piedmont Community College

South Piedmont Community College is a two-year college offering certificates, diplomas and associate’s degrees to residents in Anson and Union counties. SPCC offers small class sizes with flexible scheduling options geared toward student success. To learn more about the college and our programs, visit www.spcc.edu.

 About The North Carolina Community Colleges Small Business Center Network (SBCN)

The NC Community Colleges Small Business Center Network (SBCN) is the state’s largest state-supported small business assistance initiative. Started in 1984 with the funding of eight small business centers by the North Carolina General Assembly, by 1995 at least one Small Business Center was established at each of the 58 community colleges. At the core of its vision, the Small Business Center Network is positioned to focus on entrepreneurship, small business and economic development with an emphasis on assisting start-ups, early-stage, and businesses seeking to stabilize. To learn more, visit www.ncsbc.net

 About Fifth Third

Fifth Third is a bank that’s as long on innovation as it is on history. Since 1858, we’ve been helping individuals, families, businesses and communities grow through smart financial services that improve lives. Our list of firsts is extensive, and it’s one that continues to expand as we explore the intersection of tech-driven innovation, dedicated people and focused community impact. Fifth Third is one of the few U.S.-based banks to have been named among Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies® for several years. With a commitment to taking care of our customers, employees, communities and shareholders, our goal is not only to be the nation’s highest performing regional bank, but to be the bank people most value and trust.

 Fifth Third Bank, National Association is a federally chartered institution. Fifth Third Bancorp is the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank and its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market under the symbol “FITB.” Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com. Member FDIC.

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