Detroit Free Press
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Ashlee Trempus is the founder of “SignOn” a platform that aims to empower the deaf. Trempus was one of the three women-owned businesses to win a cash prize in a recent pitch competition hosted by the Michigan Woman’s Foundation.
Detroit Free Press
Three businesses owned by women have won cash in a “Shark Tank”-style competition dubbed EmpowerHER run by the Michigan Women’s Foundation and underwritten by the Ford Motor Co. Fund.
The Ford fund put up the prize money and an additional $90,000 for entrepreneur workshops and training.
Launch category: Motor City STEAM of Detroit, Alecia Gabriel, Chinonye Akunne and Deirdre Roberson won $7,500 and an optional $5,000 investment plus Mission Throttle investment/advisory services worth $7,500 and $1,000 via audience vote for the “Idea That Will Change the World.”
Motor City STEAM developed a program, based on market research to be a learning center engaging students, parents and the community vested in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics)-related education. The program uses a data-driven approach that includes hands-on experiences and lectures with accompanying field trips to facilitate integration of science as well as the arts.
Growth category: SignOn, Grosse Pointe Farms, Ashlee Trempus, won $10,000 and an optional $15,000 investment.
SignOn aims to empower the deaf by providing work opportunities utilizing their American Sign Language skills and paying a living wage. SignOn is a two-way live video portal that connects ASL learners to “ambassadors” for one-on-one ASL learning sessions.
Ideation category: Every Two Minutes, Huntington Woods, Erin Rose and Kayla Schindler, won $2,500.
Every Two Minutes creates mobile learning platforms to provide immersive prevention education, skills and on-demand tools at critical moments to help young people combat sexual violence and misconduct during college and post-graduation.
Other finalists received $1,000 each, and Women Who Weld of Detroit also won $7,500 in services from Mission Throttle.
Finalists pitched their businesses last week in an event at Ford headquarters in Dearborn.
The competition started with an introductory gathering in the summer of 2017 at the University of Detroit Mercy for women running and seeking to start businesses. It was followed by an invitation to compete for financial investment with a two-page proposal for an enterprise. That list was winnowed to about 30, and then a dozen, finalists.