CHICAGO—Six South Side entrepreneurs took the stage last night with three crowned winners and all the contestants gaining valuable experience in promoting their unique business ideas. For six years running, the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship (IJ Clinic) has hosted South Side Pitch. Dinobi Detergent, which makes an all natural detergent, took first place among the six finalists and 120 total businesses who entered this year.
Dinobi Detergent was created by husband and wife team Augustine and Sylvia Emuwa. The Emuwas created their detergent to cater to people with sensitive skin and families who use cloth diapers. The plant-based product contains only four ingredients selected for their cleaning power and sustainability. The Emuwas developed the product after struggling to find a detergent on the market that did not irritate the skin of their children. Dinobi means “precious” in the Igbo language of Augustine’s ancestral Nigeria.
In addition to Dinobi Detergent, South Side Pitch awarded prizes to Wash on Wheels and Strength Together. Wash on Wheels provides a full-service, mobile, waterless car wash. Strength Together is a mental health app created by and for high school students that utilizes machine learning and AI.
Before the pitches, the finalists and 175 South Siders in the audience heard from keynote speaker Tiffany Mikell, founding managing director at Neighbor Tech Lab, a business incubator. She spoke about how business ideas can develop and grow over time saying, “What you are on day one is just the beginning.”
“We started South Side Pitch to shine a light on the entrepreneurs in Chicago who are taking action to fill needs in their community,” said Kregor. “Once again, all the competitors shined brightly and we hope all of them will go on to great success. Every year, we are overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of business ideas that come out of the South Side.”
The IJ Clinic, which created South Side Pitch in 2014, is based at the University of Chicago. The clinic provides free legal assistance, access to resources and advocacy for low-income Chicago entrepreneurs. This year’s contest was also sponsored by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement.
Additional high-resolution photos and audio of the event are available on request.