Bailey Duos started working as a dog sitter and walker at age 11 and had always dreamed of owning her own doggie daycare business. That dream became a reality when she placed second — and took home $10,000 in prize money — in the 2019 Homegrown Startup Pitchfest.
A collaboration between Discover® Debit issuer, Discover Company PULSE, and United Bank, the Pitchfest was a competition for entrepreneurs in Eastern Alabama and Western Florida with a $40,000 prize pool. A team at United Bank had the task of whittling down the more than 50 entries to ten finalists who then had the opportunity to present their plans to a panel of judges.
“The Homegrown Startup Pitchfest initiative is one way we can show local businesses that we are the hometown advantage and are committed to helping their local small businesses succeed,” said Bob Jones, former President & CEO at United Bank.
After placing second in the event, University of South Alabama graduate Duos was able to open Port City Pups in a newly renovated warehouse in downtown Mobile. Port City Pups offers doggy daycare, boarding, and grooming services.
“This wouldn’t have been possible, at least on this timeline, without the prize money – it was absolutely vital,” Duos said. “In the bigger scheme of things, $10,000 might seem small, but it provides essential working capital to pay bills as we get the business off the ground.”