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17 finalists compete for $1 million in Detroit Demo Day

Annual pitch event turns virtual this year

DETROIT – The fourth Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day is doing something a little different this year to help small businesses thrive in the pandemic.

The 17 finalists have been announced for Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day. They’re competing for a share of $1 million.

For the last 3 years, Rocket Mortgage Demo Day has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to local small businesses with big plans to expand and make a difference. The competition returned for 2020, but it’s a little different due to social distancing.

“Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day is an annual event where we showcase Detroit’s best and brightest entrepreneurs and give them the chance to compete for a million dollars,” said James Chapman.

This year, instead of showcasing companies in front of a large audience, each company is creating a virtual pitch on why they should win. More than 500 entrepreneurs were competing for the prize this year and now 17 companies have been chosen.

Among those finalists is Javier Evelyn. He’s re-designed the EpiPen to make it smaller and able to attach to a phone case.

Then there’s Jarret Schlaff and Nathaniel Crawford, who are making leather goods with leftovers from the auto industry. They said they’ve saved nearly 10 tons from being sent to a landfill so far.

These finalists are small business owners who have had to overcome a tough year, so winning a piece of this prize will go a long way.

The full list of finalists can be seen here.

“We know that right now, small businesses in particular really need a lot of support,” Chapman said. “While everyone won’t receive one of the top prizes, we’re going to make sure that no one walks away empty handed.”

The grand prize winner for the Rocket Mortgage Demo Day will be announced October. The videos will be shared online before and residents are asked to vote on which business should with a piece of the $1 million up for grabs.

More information can be found on the official Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day website here.

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