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Nationwide and BlueVine Name Finalists in 'Pitch To Win'
Ohio Ag Connection - 09/20/2019

Access to sufficient capital is critical for small business owners looking to take their companies to the next level. After sifting through thousands of applications from across the country, Nationwide and BlueVine have selected seven small businesses to compete as finalists in the "Pitch To Win" contest on Oct. 3, 2019, for the chance to win $100,000 to support their businesses.

Each finalist will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Nationwide's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, where they will present their unique business proposals in person to an executive panel of judges, comprised of Kelley Earnhardt Miller, sister of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and co-owner of JR Motorsports; Eyal Lifshitz, founder and CEO of BlueVine; Jasmine Green, chief customer advocate at Nationwide; and Lisa Gobber, vice president of Small Commercial and Premium Audit at Nationwide. The winning business will be announced during a ceremony on Oct. 3 and will be awarded $100,000, with the runner up receiving $20,000 and third place earning $10,000. The awards will be non-dilutive, meaning business owners will not be required to give any ownership of their company to the sponsors.

The "Pitch To Win" finalists include:

ActivArmor (Pueblo, Colo.) -- ActivArmor is the first commercially available, 3D-printed casting and splinting company in the U.S. marketplace. The company's immobilization devices are hygienic, waterproof, breathable and custom designed to fit each patient while supporting their active lifestyle. Founder, Diana Elizabeth Hall, has made it her mission to improve the quality of life of all those needing immobilization, including children and the elderly.

Boolean Girl Tech (Arlington, Va.) -- Boolean Girl Tech aims to help girls explore their interests in technology by encouraging meaningful, hands-on, STEM-focused play. The company's Boolean Box includes a build-it-yourself computer engineering kit, enabling kids to learn to code, build, invent and animate. Co-founder, Ingrid Sanden, a mother of two teenage daughters, is passionate about helping girls explore their interest in coding and engineering.

Buckle Me Baby Coats (Londonderry, N.H.) -- Buckle Me Baby Coats are cutting-edge, adorable children's coats designed for safer, easier car seat use. Through innovative design, the coats make it easy for parents to adhere to NHTSA and American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on safe winter car seat use without taking coats off thus avoiding parking lot meltdowns. Founder, Dahlia Rizk, a parent herself, created this solution to keep her children safely buckled in their car seats while also keeping them warm in the winter months.

Cloud 9 Griptape (Crown Point, Ind.) -- Cloud 9 Griptape creates skateboard grip tape with unique and colorful graphics. While traditional plain black grip tape can limit how skateboarders show their individuality, Cloud 9 Griptape's designs enable them to express themselves and stand out. Founder, Kyle Ayling, is passionate about the skateboarding community and seeks to give skateboarders a better way to showcase their creativity.

CurlMix (Chicago, Ill.) -- CurlMix produces a haircare line for women with curly hair, providing a four-step, non-toxic system to help them feel beautiful and confident. The company manufactures and uses its own organic flaxseed gel to help create a "wash and go" style for curls. Co-founder, Kimberly Lewis, aims to give back to Chicago by expanding her business and creating more employment opportunities.

Sonavi Labs (Baltimore, Md.) - Sonavi Labs creates AI-enabled digital stethoscopes, remote monitoring devices, supportive apps and a smart cloud system that can analyze body sounds and identify respiratory abnormalities independent of a doctor. The company aims to enhance healthcare provider capabilities, transform the patient experience and save lives. Ellington West serves as CEO and is a founding team member.

TITAN Mixer Bottle (Columbus, Ohio) -- TITAN Mixer Bottle is a no-battery, no-shake mixer bottle that efficiently creates a smooth and consistent protein shake. Each bottle contains 8 oz. of on-the-go supplement storage, can hold 20 oz. of water and easily separates for cleaning. Founder, Fred Bowman, is a workout enthusiast and found inspiration for the TITAN Mixer Bottle from frustrating experiences with other shaker bottles that didn't sufficiently mix supplements.

"Nationwide once started as a small business aiming to provide trusted and fairly priced insurance coverage for America's farmers," said Tony Fenton, vice president of underwriting, product & new product development at Nationwide. "All of the 'Pitch To Win' finalists have demonstrated their industry expertise, commitment to growing their businesses and the unique market needs they are serving. We look forward to helping them take the next step with this contest and to partnering with BlueVine to continue supporting America's small businesses."

Nationwide, recently named No. 1 in Customer Satisfaction for Small Commercial Insurance by J.D. Power,* and small business financing company BlueVine, launched the "Pitch To Win" contest in May in recognition of National Small Business Week. More than 3,300 companies submitted proposals. In addition to a chance to win $100,000, each finalist will also meet and consult with experienced business experts.

"As a third generation small business entrepreneur, I was inspired by the thousands of contestants who submitted compelling proposals for an opportunity to accelerate their business growth with an influx of capital and leadership counsel," said Eyal Lifshitz, BlueVine CEO and founder. "Every day at BlueVine, we see how additional capital can take small businesses to the next level and I'm eager to join Nationwide in supporting the 'Pitch To Win' finalists in scaling their diverse businesses, supporting their local communities and achieving their goals."

The finalists will be featured on Nationwide's and BlueVine's social media platforms leading up to the Oct. 3 event.

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