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Celebrating North Mississippi 2024 Pitch Competition Winners

Innovate Mississippi continues to drive entrepreneurial growth and innovation across the state through its CoBuilders program and regional pitch competitions. Two partners, the Oxford/Lafayette Economic Development Foundation (EDF) and the Community Development Foundation (CDF), recently held their pitch events, concluding this year’s series of regional competitions.

Oxford/Lafayette Economic Development Foundation Pitch Competition

The Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation and University of Mississippi CoBuilders Business Pitch Competition, held on June 12 at Insight Park, showcased North Mississippi’s entrepreneurial spirit. Six teams pitched their ideas to a panel of five local business owners and investors, highlighting the EDF’s commitment to fostering a vibrant business environment.

Dr. Premalatha Balachandran, Ph.D., MBA, of PleXignal LLC, a pharmaceutical research and development startup, dazzled everyone and took home the first prize. Julien Bourgeois and Andrew Bradford wowed the judges with Automatic AI, their smartwatch sports development company, securing second place. Dr. Mac Nichols of BeWell Health, a modern holistic and personal care medical clinic, earned third place with his impactful initiatives to improve community health.

Community Development Foundation Pitch Competition

The Community Development Foundation (CDF) Pitch Competition, held on June 17 at Renasant Center for IDEAs, celebrated various entrepreneurial talents, each contributing to the region’s economic landscape.

Alyssa and Steven Estes’ Southern Layed captivated the judges with their innovative approach to Southern cuisine, earning them the top prize. Jude Coker’s excavation and demolition business showcased strong potential and secured the second-place position. Nikhat Powell‘s culinary venture, Tupelo Indian Food with Nikki, impressed the judges with its unique flavors and cultural offerings, earning third place. Nancy Hartfield and Justin Duncan’s Southern Catering Services received accolades for their exceptional catering solutions, placing fourth. Tina Wilkerson’s Tupelo360 rounded out the top five with its innovative community engagement platform.

Thanks to All Our Regional Pitch Event Partners!

With these regional pitch events behind us, we’ve wrapped up the CoBuilders Accelerator’s preliminary rounds. Innovate Mississippi and its eight regional partners have worked to give founders and startups in Mississippi a chance to shine. A state-wide network of mentors and service providers has played a crucial role in guiding these entrepreneurs toward success.

We’ll soon announce the 2024 CoBuilders Cohort. At that point, the winners from these competitions will join a vibrant network of innovators, mentors, and investors dedicated to fostering entrepreneurial growth throughout Mississippi.

We congratulate all of our regional winners and competition participants. Thanks for a great first half of the year. For these winners, it’s on to the second half of our program—the CoBuilders Accelerator and the road to Pitch Day at Accelerate 2024 in downtown Jackson!