EmpowHERment! Women-founded businesses win EOSERA pitch competition

EOSERA CEO Elyse Stoltz Dickerson

Entrepreneurial women and their businesses took center stage – and some nice prize money – at EOSERA’s second annual EmpowHERment Pitch Competition.

Coinciding with Global Entrepreneurship Week, the competition was held Nov. 14 at UNT Health Science Center and was supported by sponsors Simmons Bank and Higginbotham and partners Satori Capital, Tech Fort Worth, UNT Health Science Center, and Stagen Leadership Academy.

The competition is designed to help young female entrepreneurs in Texas launch their journey to business success and was started by Elyse Stoltz Dickerson, CEO and co-founder of EOSERA Inc., a biotech company targeting under-addressed needs in the area of ear health. A pitch competition was helpful to Dickerson en route to the 2015 startup of EOSERA.

After hearing the EmpowHERment competition’s three finalists present their pitches and respond to questions, three judges awarded the top prize of $15,000, sponsored by Simmons Bank, to Austin-based Audiolo. The company, founded by Sarah Morgan, automates audio-asset management for animation studios such as Netflix, Sony and Nickelodeon.

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The second place award of $10,000, sponsored by Higginbotham, went to Hangio. Founded by Ayo Aigbe, the Dallas based company revolutionized the clothes hanger with a product that can be bent more than six ways to store delicate tops such as turtlenecks and knitwear.

Third place went to Bairitone Health, based in Houston and founded by Meagan Pitcher, who won three one-hour coaching sessions with Stagen Leadership Academy Coach Wes Rosacker. Bairitone Health is involved in analyzing and identifying issues related to the treatment of sleep apnea.

“Congratulations to all the finalists who competed so brilliantly tonight, and heartfelt cheers to Audiolo on their win for the evening,” Dickerson said. “I was blown away by the ingenuity and bravery in the room, and I wish you all continued success in your businesses!”

The competition’s initial application process consisted of perfunctory information about the contestant’s business. It included five essay questions on a variety of topics relating to the business and a 60-second video submission telling the judges about the business, what makes it special and the inspiration for its start.

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Judging the event were Mia Meachem, Meggie Lowy and Kari Crowe. Meachem is currently president of KINLO, a sun care brand founded by Naomi Osaka. Lowy is senior vice president of Hillwood, one of the top industrial, commercial, and residential real estate developers in the country. Crowe is CEO of MELT Ice Creams, which has three shops in Fort Worth and one in Dallas.

This year’s cash prizes increased significantly from the 2022 total of $12,500. Last year’s top prize winner was Boozy Bites, a company that makes wine-based, vegan jello shots.