CHICAGO—Last night, the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship (IJ Clinic)’s Ninth Annual South Side Pitch declared Moor’s Brewing Co. the winner with the help of a live audience. Moor’s took first place among the five finalists from the more than 100 businesses who applied.
Moor’s Brewing Company was founded by Damon Patton, Jamhal Johnson and Anthony Bell, all born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. In 1994, the three formed lifelong friendships while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and have pursued entrepreneurial excellence ever since. This year’s top prize is $10,000 that Moor’s will use to help introduce their beers to new markets.
“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to present at South Side Pitch,” said Damon Patton. “We’re grateful just to be one of the finalists and it’s an even bigger pleasure to win.”
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“South Side Pitch is a time to celebrate the impactful, innovative, inspiring entrepreneurs of the South Side,” said Beth Kregor, Director of the IJ Clinic. “Each one of the finalists gave a powerful pitch detailing the track record of their business and their vision for further impact as they grow. Our audience is now motivated to invest in the South Side economy in all sorts of ways, and, if history repeats itself, some audience members may become finalists next year. At the IJ Clinic, we are reinvigorated to identify and knock down the barriers that unnecessarily block the dreams of entrepreneurs like these finalists.”
In addition to the grand prize, this year’s South Side Pitch awarded cash prizes to all the participants.
2nd Place: The Record Track $7,000
3rd Place: That’s So Creative $5,000
4th Place: Healthy Substance $3,000
5th Place: T’Kor Couture $1,000
The Record Track also took home the community favorite award determined by audience voting and a special award from the University of Chicago Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation for their work in the community to bring about positive social change.
The pitches by the finalists were made to four esteemed judges: LaForce Baker, Vice President of Community Impact at World Business Chicago and Founder of Moon Meals; Justin Douglas,
Assistant Director for Social Entrepreneurship at University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Brooke Fallon, Vice President at Trust Ventures; and Richard Jones, Supplier Diversity Business Manager at United Airlines. Prior to the event, finalists met with experienced business coaches to prepare and sharpen their pitches.
Last year’s third place winner, Dominique Jones of D. Jones Construction, welcomed the contestants. She talked about how her South Side Pitch experience helped her business succeed and her tips for this year’s finalists.
The IJ Clinic, based at the University of Chicago Law School, empowers Chicago’s low-income entrepreneurs through free legal services, resources, and advocacy. This year’s contest was sponsored by United Airlines, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement, and the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.