The results of the 2023 RISE Business Pitch Competition are in!

Read our blog to see who received funding at the 2023 RISE Business Pitch Competition and how they are planning to use it to start or grow their businesses in Southern Virginia.

Event Details

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center – Innovation Center

605 Seymour Drive, South Boston, VA 24592


Please park in the large parking lot on the south side of the building. The front entrance is accessed through this parking lot. When entering through the front door, take a left at the front desk and use the elevator or stairs to get down to the bottom floor. The event will be held in the tiered classroom on the bottom floor of the SVHEC Innovation Center. 

Schedule of Events

Please feel free to stay the entire time, or come for a portion of the event.

Time Event
3:30 PM Doors Open
3:30 – 4:00 PM Check-in Begins
4:00 – 4:30 PM Check-in & Networking, Headshots & Group Photos, Light Refreshments
4:30 – 4:35 PM Welcome & Remarks
4:35 – 4:40 PM Transition to Pitches
4:40 – 5:34 PM Team Pitches with Q&A with Judges
5:34 – 5:44 PM Break
5:44 – 6:38 PM Team Pitches with Q&A with Judges
6:38 – 6:48 PM Break
6:48 – 7:45 PM Team Pitches with Q&A with Judges
7:45 PM Pitch Event Ends
7:45 – 8:00 PM Judges Conference (Private)

Attend the Pitch Competition

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

4pm-8pm in South Boston, VA

What to Expect

  • We strive to provide a fun, friendly, fast-paced pitch competition experience. Competitors should arrive and check-in at the event no later than 1 hour before their scheduled pitch time.
  • Slides will be preloaded. There will be a clicker available to competitors so they can advance their own slides. 
  • Competitors will have 5 minutes to pitch and another 5 minutes for Q&A with the judges.
  • Once the time is up, the speaker may finish his or her sentence.
  • The event will adjourn at the conclusion of the pitches.
  • Judges will confer in a private session after the pitch event. 
  • Winners of the Business Pitch Competition will be announced during a virtual celebration event on April 4 at 6:00pm.

2023 Competition Awards

RISE Collaborative will distribute over $16,000 in prize funds through the inaugural RISE Business Pitch Competition. Businesses are eligible to compete in either the Startup or Grow category.

Startup Category: 

  • Multiple $1,000 awards are available.

Grow Category:

  • 1st Place: $5,000
  • 2nd Place: $4,000
  • 3rd Place: $3,000

Women-Owned Business Category:

The SOVA Female Founders Fund for Women-Owned Businesses is intended to provide additional support and encouragement to female entrepreneurs demonstrating perseverance in pursuing their vision.  The minimum award amount is $1,000. To qualify, businesses must be at least 51% owned by a woman, as self-reported. Priority will be given to qualified entrepreneurs who demonstrate grit defined as the "perseverance and passion for long-term goals" and the ability to overcome obstacles. Businesses may win this award, whether or not they also win a Startup or Grow award. 

Donate to the Female Founders Fund

Want to support a passionate female founder in growing her business? You can do that by donating to the RISE Female Founders Fund for Women-Owned Businesses.

To donate, please download and complete the form below or email

Order of Pitches

1 – RCFlyBy

2 – The Appalachian Glamping Company

3 – The Cheesecake Lady

4 – Valhalla Organics

5 – Frankie’s Spicy Farm

6 – Premier Endeavors

7 – LEZEAL Enterprises

8 – GW Custom Design

9 – Toasted by Southern Plenty

10 – Succor Solutions

11 – Harris & Sons Septic, LLC

12 – B&C Brewing Co.

13 – Factory Street Brewing Co.

*Subject to change.

Meet the 2023 Business Plan Competition Judges

Dr. Julie Brown

Dr. Julie Brown

2 Witches Winery & Brewing Co.

Bridget Flannagan

Bridget Flannagan

A Great Escape Spalon

Hope Harris-Gayles

Hope Harris-Gayles

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center

Vandy Jones

Vandy Jones

Crater SBDC of Longwood University

David Kenealy

David Kenealy


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