Local Entrepreneurs Get Big Boost from United Bank and Discover

Winners of Homegrown Startup Pitchfest Share $40,000 in Prizes

POINT CLEAR, AL / ACCESSWIRE / April 11, 2019 / Lots of entrepreneurs start their businesses in their home or garage, but Max Westendorf started his business UNDER his house. Last year, the resident of Gulf Shores and his partner started an oyster nursery, Westendorf Oyster Farm, and enjoyed success selling to oyster growers. It’s an idea that captivated the judges of United Bank’s Homegrown Startup Pitchfest contest, earning Westendorf first place and the $25,000 top prize.

“The aquaculture industry is new,” said Westendorf. “You’re on your own a lot, and there aren’t a lot of mentors, so this was a much-needed confidence boost, which is almost as important as the $25,000 prize! Thanks to United Bank and Discover, this couldn’t have come at a better time, because we need to invest in new infrastructure, equipment, and electrical upgrades to take our business to the next level.”

Second place and $10,000 went to Mobile resident Bailey Duos of Port City Pups. Third place and $5,000 went to Scott Blair and 2U Tire of Daphne. Discover Financial Services sponsored the $40,000 in prizes. In all, 10 promising startups and entrepreneurs from Alabama and Florida, chosen from more than 50 applicants, presented their business plans live to a panel of judges that included local entrepreneurs and executives from United Bank and Discover.

“United Bank thanks all the finalists for showcasing how great ideas – together with grit and determination – drive the Alabama Gulf Coast economy,” said Bob Jones, President & CEO at United Bank. “This Homegrown Startup Pitchfest contest has helped to illustrate how United Bank works to understand what local small businesses do, and what entrepreneurs in Alabama and northwest Florida need to be successful.”

The Homegrown Startup competition started with a business plan competition to identify the 10 finalists. The finalists received coaching to refine their ideas and perfect their pitches. Each finalist had two minutes to convince the judges they deserved to win.

“The common thread among all three winners was that they each shared a strong belief that what they are working on is going to make a difference,” said Mike Urquizu, Discover Vice President of Debit Sales and Account Management, who served on the judging panel. “Discover believes in having a positive impact on the communities where we do business, and we are proud to support United Bank in this initiative.”

United Bank offers the United Bank Discover® Debit Card to its customers, including businesses throughout the region.

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About United Bank

United Bank is a $650,000,000 financial institution that has enjoyed 115 years of service. United Bank has offices in Atmore, Brewton, Flomaton, Monroeville, Frisco City, Greensboro, Bay Minette, Foley, Lillian, Loxley, Magnolia Springs, Silverhill, Spanish Fort and Summerdale in Alabama. United Bank serves Santa Rosa County, Florida in Jay, Milton and Pace. For more information about United Bank please visit our website at www.unitedbank.com. Member FDIC.

About UB Community Development (UBCD)

UB Community Development’s strong history as an experienced leverage lender in New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) transactions, coupled with our passion for improving the communities around us, make UBCD Alabama’s premier financial partner for economic and community development. Through our NMTC, Community Facilities Lending Program and Capital Magnet Fund, UBCD is working with community development partners in the fields of healthcare, education, manufacturing, public works, and more. For more information about UB Community Development, visit our website at www.UBCommunityDevelopment.com.

Jessica Wofford of Fuse Project and other judges of the Homegrown Startup Pitchfest listen intently to a pitch

Left to right: Bob Jones,
United Bank, Mike Urquizu, Discover, Bailey Duos, Port City Pups, Max
Westendorf, Westendorf Oyster Farm, Scott Blair, 2U Tire, Quint Studer,
Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Jessica Wofford, Fuse Project

Jessica Wofford of Fuse Project and other judges of the Homegrown Startup Pitchfest listen intently to a pitch

Media Contact:

Tonya Lambert
VP, Marketing & Public Relations
251-446-6004
[email protected]

SOURCE: United Bank

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