Hornets Innovation Summit awards $30,000 to top pitches

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Two local entrepreneurs were selected as the winners of the fourth annual Hornets Innovation Summit Presented by Bank of America. The initiative  supports economic mobility in Charlotte, with the UNC Charlotte Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation providing expertise and training.

Whitney Stephenson, owner of the specialty bridal boutique Mahogany Brown Bridal, received the grand prize investment of $20,000. Camille Hughes, owner of The Frame, earned the second prize of $10,000. The Frame is a photography studio that also hosts small special events and gatherings.

The selection, which was announced at the Hornets’ game on March 31, concluded a two-month process that included over 100 submissions, 14 semi-finalists and impassioned pitches by four finalists. CEI mentored the final four to prepare them for their presentations to the judges.

As part of its partnership with the initiative, CEI will offer all participants continued mentorship and an Investor-Ready Series Workshop, designed to assist all participants with customer discovery and other steps to prepare their businesses for success.