Since its inception in 2019, Innovation Bootcamp has provided entrepreneurs with building blocks of success. An on-ramp to entrepreneurship, the program helps participants develop their “why” statement, streamline pitches, and build leadership necessary for success in business.

In 2021, a $1.25 million grant from the Truist Foundation helped the program expand these resources to local community members and build an outdoor gathering space. Three years later, the program is receiving record numbers of applicants, has started an alumni networking spinoff called Reboot, and hosts pitch competitions for Bootcamp graduates to compete for seed money.

The Truist Community Initiative Pitch Competition is a chance for community members to pitch their idea, business, or product to a panel of judges for a chance at that cash prize. So far, there have been two competitions with five total winners: Wesley Chenoweth of Grizzly Rides, Nipuna Ambanpola of iVolunteer, Millie Finch of Night Sky Coffee, Tiffany Roman of Spectrum Play, and Staci Belcher of Embody.

“As the one who knows the participants from the day they apply to Innovation Bootcamp and hesitantly walk through our doors for the first session to watching them pitch on the final day, their growth is remarkable,” said Allyson Hester, Innovation Gateway program manager for Innovation Bootcamp. “Seeing them pitch after the time and effort they have put into being part of our 7-week program makes me so proud for them and excited about the impact we are able to provide.”

Innovation Bootcamp has opened applications for the Fall 2024 Veteran Entrepreneurs Bootcamp. Learn more about Innovation Gateway’s various programs in the video.