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Startups: dive into the tank

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  • | 11:00 a.m. January 20, 2017
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An area of the Gulf Coast often overlooked for startup capital — Charlotte County — will get its turn in the spotlight later this year.

The attention stems from VenturePitch SWFL. It's a Shark Tank-style event, scheduled for Punta Gorda March 30, that's open to entrepreneurs and startups from Charlotte, DeSoto, Lee and Sarasota counties. Five companies will be invited to compete for a financial prize from investors at the event.

“Thanks to generous sponsors, VenturePitch SWFL will offer the winning startups $50,000 in equity investments for the first time since the quarterly events began in 2015,” says Timothy Cartwright, chairman of Naples-based Tamiami Angel Funds, which oversees the VenturePitch SWFL series.

Modeled after the popular “Shark Tank” TV show, entrepreneurs make a brief pitch to seasoned investors on stage in front of an audience. Sponsors of the event include Sun Newspapers, The Hatchery at Babcock Ranch, the North Port Economic Development Corp., the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, Tamiami Angel Funds and Adrenaline Venture Fund.

To be considered for the competition companies must be in the pre-revenue stage or within the first few months of producing revenue; must be in business less than two years; have a scalable business model; and have not already raised more than $1 million. The deadline to submit a plan is Feb. 15. The March 30 event is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Isles Yacht Club, 1780 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda.
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