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TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) On Wednesday, May 15, the Leo Rich Theatre will host Pitch Black.

Pitch Black is a pitch contest pitting ten Black-owned businesses competing for $5,000 in prize money.

The entrepreneurs represent businesses ranging from food service to fitness to marketing. They are judged on not just a business plan and potential profit margins, but also the story around their business.

Pitch Black was created in 2020 during the pandemic, as Black-owned businesses struggled to attract financing.

According to the Federal Reserve, Black entrepreneurs are about half as likely to secure full financing as white-owned businesses.

In addition to funding, winners also receive support from entrepreneurship organizations across the state.

Ashley La Russa, founder of Pitch Black, says this is only the beginning of the journey for the competitors.

PITCH BLACK is creating history in Tucson!” La Russa said. “Im looking forward to seeing these local businesses thrive with funding and statewide connections.”

As opposed to typical business financing, the prize money has no strings attached and can be used for anything related to the business. The money also comes as a lump sum rather than installments.

La Russa says these details were important to help small business owners thrive.

“So many barriers are knocked down when financial obstacles are alleviated,” La Russa said. “When we held a meeting with Black Owned Businesses in January, one of the primary concerns was access to unrestricted lump sum grants and Im proud to say we have accomplished that.

Pitch Black will be held Wednesday, May 15 at Leo Rich Theatre, beginning at 7:30.

Tickets are free but seats are limited.

You can reserve a spot on the event website.