Creative Enterprise



ArtWorks Big Pitch is presented by U.S. Bank and is a 10-week mentorship program and pitch competition for established artists, makers, designers, and creative entrepreneurs competing for up to $20,000 in business grants. Click here for important dates. This program is only open to businesses whose headquarters are within 30 miles of the ArtWorks office (20 E. Central Parkway, 45202).


 Meet our 2014 and 2015 Finalists


Grand Prize: $15,000 business grant
Audience Choice: $5,000 business grant


After a competitive application process, ArtWorks will select 8 finalists and pair them with a business mentor and U.S. Bank Small Business Specialist to receive mentorship and coaching over 10 weeks. The program will culminate in a public pitch event in front of a live audience and an expert panel of judges.



Each finalist will deliver a 5-minute pitch at the Big Pitch event on Thursday, October 6. A panel of judges will evaluate finalists based on the strength of their business plan and final pitch. The winner will be awarded a $15K business grant. An additional $5K business grant will be awarded to the Audience Choice




2016 ArtWorks Big Pitch Application

ArtWorks is looking for creatives who have been in business for a minimum of 2 years to apply for ArtWorks Big Pitch competition. Businesses must have headquarters that are within 30 miles of the ArtWorks office which is located at 20 E. Central Parkway, 45202.

Eight finalists will be chosen to pitch their businesses on October 6th for the chance at a grand prize of $15,000 cash to fund a long-term tangible growth opportunity.

After applications close, eight finalists will be chosen by a review committee selected by ArtWorks. Each finalist will be paired with a mentor and U.S. Banker to offer support throughout the 10-week coaching time frame leading up to the event. Finalists will give their 5-minute pitch at ArtWorks Big Pitch event on October 6th.

Finalists will be notified no later than July 20, 2016. Coaching time frame is July 28 to October 6th, 2016.

Please note there is a $25 application fee. There will be a link to submit your $25 application fee after completing the form. Applications submitted without the fee will not be reviewed.
  • Must be in business 2 or more years as of October 6, 2016.
    ArtWorks defines your "launch" as the approximate time you started generating revenue or when you registered your legal structure (LLC, etc.)
  • Nonprofits are ineligible to apply. You do not need to have a registered LLC in order to apply.
  • Select more than one if applicable.
  • If chosen as a finalist, you will be assigned a mentor to work with you leading up to the pitch event.
  • Tell us your story in your own way. Production value is not important - this can be filmed with your cell phone. Please do not exceed 3 minutes.
  • Business Plan (Required)

    A current business plan is required to apply. Due to limited file sizes, applicants have two options to submit your business plan:

    1. Upload a Word document or PDF.
    2. Link to your business plan via Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
  • For assistance assembling or updating your business plan, click below:
  • **Update: If your business plan is too large to upload, please use the box below to link to your business plan via DropBox, Google Drive, etc.**
    Your business plan should reflect your current business and should not include your plans for the $15,000. If you are chosen as a finalist, a mentor and U.S. Banker will help you fine-tune your business plan to include those future business growth opportunities. PDFs or Microsoft Word documents only. Please note that your business plan will only be seen by the ArtWorks Review Committee.
    Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx.
  • **Update: If your business plan is too large to upload, please link to your business plan via DropBox, Google Drive, etc.**
  • By clicking yes, I agree that I am at least 18 years of age and a citizen of the United States, and I agree that if selected as a finalist, I will be required to:
    - Provide proof of identity and residency
    - Provide a Federal Tax ID number and completed W-9
    - Comply with all prize recipient requirements as stated above
  • NOTE: If you are not taken to a confirmation page upon clicking the "Submit" button, your application did not go through! You must submit your $25 application fee on the next page. Applications submitted without the fee will not be reviewed.


Past Finalists and Winners:


On August 27, 2015 at the Cincinnati Masonic Center, Big Pitch finalist Brush Factory was awarded a $15,000 grant by a panel of judges and the $5,000 Audience Choice Award.

“Rosie and I are thrilled and honored to have been part of Artworks Big Pitch and so grateful to have been chosen as winners of ArtWorks Big Pitch. We are especially grateful to everyone at ArtWorks who worked so hard on this program and our wonderful coach Bob Bonder, whose help and insights have meant so much. And three cheers to Mike Walters and US Bank for making this possible and for their enthusiastic encouragement for entrepreneurs.”

Co-founders Hayes Shanesy & Rosie Kovacs
of Brush Factory

Hayes Shanesy and Rosie Kovacs_Brush Factory

Cincinnati, OH
Brush Factory designs and fabricates custom contemporary furniture using regionally sourced hardwoods.
Brush Factory builds exciting future on a base of craftsmanship and tradition | Soapbox

Founder Rachel DesRochers
of Grateful Grahams

Covington, Kentucky
Grateful Grahams are handmade vegan graham treats that taste great and come with a big dose of gratitude!
Grateful Grahams founder displays gratitude along with desire to grow business | Soapbox

Founder Allison Hines
of Butcher Betties

Allison Hines_Butcher Betties

Florence, KY
Butcher Betties is a female, veteran owned butcher shop & gourmet food store specializing in local,  grass fed, natural, and organic meat.
Butcher Betties gets to the meat of why local startups need mentoring and funding | Soapbox

 Founder Richard Hunt
of Roebling Point Books & Coffee

Richard Hunt_Roebling Point Books and Coffee

Covington, KY
RoPoBoCo welcomes readers, neighbors, authors, advocacy groups, visitors and everyone thirsting for cool books, hot coffee and great people.
Roebling Point Books & Coffee in love with Covington, and vice versa | Soapbox


Founder James Marable
of Original Thought Required

James Marable_Original Thought Required

Cincinnati, OH
Original Thought Required is a cultural & fashion destination for Cincinnati. Focusing on limited edition apparel by independent designers.
Original Thought Required encourages young talent, creates community | Soapbox

Founder Jess Sheldon
of Cityscape Tiles

Jess Sheldon_Hazel Brown Photography

Cincinnati, OH
Cityscape Tiles, formerly Hazel Brown Photography, is a photography service business and product developer, wholesaler and retailer of functional fine art products.
Big Pitch finalist Jess Sheldon shows longtime love for OTR with Cityscape Tiles | Soapbox


Founder Jason Snell
of We Have Become Vikings

Jason Snell_We Have Become Vikings

Cincinnati, OH
WHBV is a group of rebels, rockers, thinkers and makers combining strategy and design to help tell stories through any means possible.
Snell’s Viking design work is at All Star Game, Lumenocity and everywhere in between | Soapbox

Founder Jenifer Sult
of Cut and Sewn

Jenifer Sult_Cut and Sewn

Cincinnati, Ohio
Cut and Sewn is a sample room that provides design, sewing, and patternmaking services for fashion and soft goods to design entrepreneurs.
Cut and Sewn founder/designer living her childhood dream | Soapbox



$15,000 business grant recipient

Chris Sutton

Noble Denim
Chris Sutton

Noble exists to create durable, classic items of clothing made in North America using methods that are sustainable and good for all involved.

Read Chris’s profile in Soapbox Cincinnati

Recipient of $5,000 business grant

Django Kroner Canopy

Canopy Crew
Django Kroner

The Canopy Crew is a custom tree house and professional tree care company.

Read Django’s profile in Soapbox Cincinnati

Recipient of $2,500 in professional services from Dinsmore and Shohl, Clark Schaefer Hackett and LPK

Matt Madison Madisono

 Madisono’s Gelato & Sorbetto

Matt Madison

Madisono’s Gelato & Sorbet produces small batch gelato in inspired flavors to the wholesale retail and restaurant markets in Cincinnati.

Read Matt’s profile in Soapbox Cincinnati

Winner of $1,000 in professional services from Dinsmore and Shohl, Clark Schaefer Hackett and LPK

Brian Stuparyk Steamwhistle

Steam Whistle Letterpress & Design

Brian Stuparyk

Steam Whistle is a letterpress print shop specializing in design & production, and local and national sales of unique retail and custom paper products.

Read Brian’s profile in Soapbox Cincinnati


Chocolats Latour
Owner: Shalini Latour

Chocolats Latour creates handmade confections with artistic designs and unique flavors using fair trade chocolate and local ingredients.

Read Shalini’s Soapbox Cincinnati profile

Golden Hour Moving Pictures Jacqueline
Golden Hour Moving Pictures

Owner: C. Jacqueline Wood

Golden Hour Moving Pictures is a small video production company dedicated to the art of the moving image.

Read Jacqueline’s Soapbox Cincinnati Profile

Heather Britt HBDC
HBDC: Heather Britt Dance Collective

Owner: Heather Britt

HBDC uses professional choreography, high energy DANCEFIX workout classes, and flash mobs to create community connections through dance.

Read Heather’s Soapbox Cincinnati profile

Modern MisfitModern Misfit Classic Genius
Owners: Cordario Collier, Jason Matheny

Misfit Genius, A lifestyle clothing brand that empowers thinkers, leaders and influencers to Embrace the Misfit, Become the Genius.

Read Monty and Jason’s Profile in Soapbox Cincinnati