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Local entrepreneurs encouraged to present at Pitchfest competition

Entrepreneurs will soon have an opportunity to advance their company’s future further than they could on their own — in front of a live audience.

During the third annual Glendale Tech Week, owners of business up-starts can have their work critiqued in a format like the TV show Shark Tank during an event called Pitchfest.

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Company officials will present their ideas in front of a panel of judges, made up of investors and venture capitalists.

The contest is open to all companies in Los Angeles County. The deadline for applications is Monday, with Pitchfest to be held on Sept. 20.

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Glendale Tech Week is part of the city’s Tech Strategy, adopted by the City Council to develop technology and innovation in the area.

“What we have seen with Pitchfest is, it’s a great way for the city to provide these resources to the startup community,” said Jennifer Hiramoto, the city’s principal economic development officer.

The winner will receive $60,000 worth of professional services such as legal advice, a meeting space, marketing and accounting services and instruction on investment structuring.

“Our philosophy is that the high tide rises all. The stronger our community and tech ecosystem is in Glendale, the better it is for the Southern California region,” Hiramoto said.

Company representatives will have seven to 10 minutes to present their start-up idea to the judges’ panel, followed by five minutes of questions. After the presentation, entrepreneurs will get individual critiques from the judges.

“Pitchfest allows us to highlight the innovation that is happening here and around Glendale, and connects entrepreneurs to local services that are available,” Mayor Zareh Sinanyan said in a statement.

After finishing second in last year’s competition, Erin Beck, 32, further developed her babysitting co-op.

Beck founded Wana Family Network, a babysitting community where families watch each other’s children. Parents meet with each other, converse and build a rapport before taking on babysitting duties.

The service is free, as long as parents are sticking to their babysitting responsibilities.

“Instead of dollars, families trade points. Points represent hours. As long as you are trading time equally, you can use it,” Beck said.

Beck installed several safety features for parents and babysitters, including background checks that can be done at random.

Despite not winning Pitchfest last year, Beck’s company has flourished. The Wana Family Network is available in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Beck said the best part of her Pitchfest experience “was definitely the networking and the support of the Glendale community.”

Glendale Tech Week begins Sept. 15. For more information, visit glendaletechweek.com.

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