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KeyBank's Key4Women, TheWMarketplace, UW and UWT To Host Women-Owned Business Pitch Contest

By: 3BL Media

Seattle and Greater Puget Sound start-up and existing WOB businesses will compete for over $47,000 in awards



SEATTLE, June 7, 2022 /3BL Media/ – KeyBank’s Key4Women program, TheWMarketplace, University of Washington Foster School of Business, and University of Washington Tacoma Milgard School of Business are collaborating to host a business pitch contest for women-owned businesses located in Seattle and Greater Puget Sound. Opportunities for start-ups and existing businesses will be offered, with cash awards totaling over $47,000. The grand prize winner will earn $20,000.

To be eligible, businesses must be 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women. They must also be headquartered in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, or Kitsap counties. Applicants can be an entrepreneur with a new business idea or an existing business with a new product or service that expands their current business with annual sales of less than $3 million.

“We are excited to be working with Key4Women on this pitch contest. This is an opportunity to work with even more women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in the Seattle and Greater Puget Sound,” said Susan Gates, Co-Founder of TheWMarketplace. “Our goal is not only to provide money for the winner’s business growth, but to provide a complimentary 1-year membership to TheWMarketplace to all finalists, giving them access to a national sales channel for their products or services. When women-owned businesses thrive, they are hiring and helping to grow the economy.”

The online portal for submissions opens June 2nd at 8 am PST, The application deadline is July 15, 2022 at 11:59 pm PST. Ten finalists chosen by host representatives will be announced on August 15th. A live event will be held on September 15th at the UW Foster School of Business from 10am-1pm PST where finalists present a 4-minute pitch and field questions for 6 minutes to a panel of five judges. Winners will be announced the following day.

Criteria used to determine winners include the quality of the presentation, clarity of business vision and mission, economic impact of the idea and the soundness of value proposition. Mentoring is also available post contest to all applicants.

"Our center has had a long-standing relationship with KeyBank and we’re delighted to co-sponsor with Key4Women. For more than 25 years, we’ve supported the growth of women- and minority-owned businesses and we look forward to continuing this work through this pitch contest,” Wilfredo Tutol, Director of Washington State Programs, UW Foster CBDC.

“Winning ideas, start-up cash and expert mentoring, the Milgard School of Business is proud to support this formula for success,” said Altaf Merchant, PhD, Dean. “We know women in business will bring exciting innovation. Now is the time.”

“Women business owners and leaders positively impact our economy and communities in powerful ways every day,” said Rachael Sampson, national director, Key4Women. “Key4Women is on a mission to advocate, connect, and empower them to thrive. The WMarketplace, UW and UWT are great co-sponsors in this endeavor, and through this pitch contest we look forward to offering two critical supports women-owned businesses often struggle to find or ask for: mentorship and capital.”

For the 2022 Women-Owned Business Pitch Contest rules and specifics, including eligibility, submission requirements and the application, visit


Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a women-owned, nation-wide ecommerce marketplace for female entrepreneurs to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 3500+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more.


The UW Consulting and Business Development Center links students, faculty, and staff from the Foster School of Business with a racially and ethnically diverse business and nonprofit community to expand students' knowledge and skills, help small businesses grow, create and retain jobs, open educational opportunities for under-represented minority students, and stimulate innovative economic development research.


The Milgard School of Business is at the epicenter of Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest’s cultural and economic growth, making it the perfect place to dream big about the future. One program, the Milgard Women's Initiative, is a valuable resource within the school, supporting real-world mentoring and one-to-one pairing, inspiring long-term relationships with women business professionals. Students also receive negotiations and marketing support. Another program, within the Center for Business Analytics, is a hub for digital innovation. Our employment powerhouse, Master of Science in Accounting, a STEM program, and the unique Sports Enterprise Management program, and Students Assisting Business outreach makes the entire school a conduit between business students and the thriving diverse communities that embrace us.


Key4Women started in 2005 as a campaign to lend $1 billion to qualified women-owned businesses within three years. The program achieved that in two years and has now generated more than $12 billion in loans to women-owned businesses. Membership in Key4Women is free. In addition to helping women business leaders and owners tap into capital to build and grow their businesses, Key4Women members gain valuable access to a team of local Certified Key4Wome Advisors who advocate, connect and empower women on their journey to financial wellness. For more information, visit

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Tweet me: .@Key4Women, @thewmarketplace, @UWFosterSchool & @MilgardUWT are collaborating to host a business pitch contest for women-owned businesses located in Seattle & Greater Puget Sound with cash awards totaling over $47,000! Learn more here: @keybank

KEYWORDS: NYSE: KEY, Key4Women, DEI, TheWMarketplace, University of Washington Foster School of Business, University of Washington Tacoma Milgard School of Business, women owned businesses

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