Bronx Week features contest for small business owners to grow their companies

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Friday, May 17, 2024
Bronx Week features contest for small business owners
Pedro Rivera has the latest from the Bronx.

BRONX (WABC) -- It's Bronx Week and Thursday is all about celebrating and building a better future for small business owners.

When you think of a pitch at Yankee Stadium, you probably envision a heater from Gerrit Cole on the mound.

But Thursday, inside of a conference at 161st and River Avenue, five small Bronx business owners were serving up their best fastball hoping to win some cash.

"It is a different kind of pitch, that's the best way to say at the cathedral of baseball," said Rob Walsh, President, Bronx Economic Development Corporation (BXEDC).

More than 100 Bronx business owners applied to win the $10,000 grant.

BXEDC along with Santander Bank and the New York Yankees hosted the BX Factor pitch competition.

"Those who are investing in the Bronx, those who are making the Bronx a better place by growing jobs, this is what we wanted to highlight during Bronx Week," Walsh said.

It was kind of like "Shark Tank" but without Daymond John and Mark Cuban, and with only five finalists.

Green Canvas Production, Gomez Design Studios, Scigence, Mario's Restaurant, and Bronx Native.

Each business owner gave a 2-minute pitch on why they needed the money, how they would use it and what the Bronx means to them.

Businesses like Arthur Avenue's Mario's Resturant said they will the money to expand their oil line, while others like Mott Haven's Bronx Native would increase production on its clothing brand.

Each finalist will walk away with money, with second and third-place each receiving $2,000 dollars, and fourth and fifth-place getting $500.

"We're known for highlighting the work of some champions here at Yankee Stadium and today we got the chance to highlight some champions in our borough," said Brian Smith, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, New York Yankees.

But only one business could come out on top and win $10,000. And the winner is Gomez Design Studio.

"It feels great. A little surreal, but I'm so grateful," said Tiffany Gomez, Gomez Design Studio.

Gomez started her Bronx-based sustainable business seven years ago, making furniture from construction waste found throughout the city.

Gomez says the money will go towards marketing the company and putting funds back into the community.

"I also want to start an apprenticeship and internship program for women in the Bronx, so we're going to spread out as much as we can with this $10,000," she said.

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson said she loved seeing the competition at Yankee Stadium, it was a success and they hope to come back next year.

Lee Goldberg talks to Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson at the New York Botanical Garden.

You can learn more about Bronx Week here:

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