Andrew Wimer
Andrew Wimer · September 15, 2022

CHICAGO—For the ninth year in a row, South Side entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to win money to turn their business dreams into reality through the South Side Pitch. For the first time since 2019, the competition will again be held live and open to the public at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Hyde Park. For the next week, members of the public are invited to help pick one of the finalists by viewing short video pitches in YouTube and liking their favorite.

The full list of 24 semi-finalists is available at: More information on each business and a link to their pitch video is available on the website. Voting will be open through September 22.

“The South Side is full of creative, innovative entrepreneurs who are building up their communities,” said Beth Kregor, the director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago. “Whether they are keeping a neighborhood shop open in spite of the challenges of online competition, designing a new app, creating new recipes or providing much-needed professional services, they are an inspiring, essential group of heroes. We are excited to share videos highlighting the variety and vitality of entrepreneurs on the South Side and give the public a chance to vote in the South Side Pitch competition. But, beware, the creativity you see might be contagious!”

South Side Pitch allows incredible entrepreneurs to share their success stories and the impacts their businesses have in a “Shark Tank” style contest, with the final contestants presenting their pitches during the live event on October 20. Applicants compete to win several great prizes, including over $25,000 in cash prizes; this year, every finalist is guaranteed a prize.

Last year’s first-place winner was mental health non-profit Sista Afya. Owner Camesha Jones planned to use her prize money to expand access to low-cost mental health services.

South Side Pitch is hosted by the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship. The contest is sponsored by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement and United Airlines. 

The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship provides free legal assistance, access to resources and advocacy for low-income Chicago entrepreneurs. To learn more about the IJ Clinic, visit