Level Up! Women’s Empowerment Summit & Level Up Pitch Competition

YWCA’s Level Up! Women’s Empowerment Summit and the Level Up Pitch Competition 

November 14th-15th, 2023
The Whitehall Downtown
Houston, TX

Level Up! Women’s Empowerment Summit is a two-day event of networking, education, and supporting entrepreneurs nationwide. YWCA has partnered with Procter & Gamble to host a FREE in-person summit and pitch competition, providing opportunities for women entrepreneurs to connect, strategize, and grow.

Attendees will be able to hear panel discussions, attend workshops, network with other leaders and entrepreneurs from around the country, and witness the culminating pitch competition where entrepreneurs will have the opportunity of being awarded funds to support their businesses courtesy of P&G. Whether you’re a female entrepreneur or a supporter of women-owned businesses, we’d love to have you. 

If you have any additional questions, please reach out to programs@ywca.org

Program Content + Speaker Prep:
Jasmin Reeves
Manager, Convenings & Events,


Jasmine Crowe-Houston

Jasmine Crowe-Houston
Founder & CEO
Keynote Speaker

Mariko Bennett

Mariko Bennett
CEO & Founder 
COCO B. Productions and C-Power Elevating Education

Elain Gonzales Johnson

Elain Gonzales Johnson
Founder/Executive Director
Latinas in Motion

Rochelle Sodipo

Rochelle Sodipo
Founder & Creative Director
Rosereed ETC

Kia Riddick-Taylor

Kia Riddick-Taylor
StarCatcher Acting Studio

Sheilisa McNeal

Sheilisa McNeal
Founder and CEO
Fria LLC

Janice Omadeke

Janice Omadeke
CEO and Founder
The Mentor Method

Pitch Competition

"Calling All Associations Offering Entrepreneurship Programs—Level Up Pitch Competition Sponsored by Procter & Gamble"

We are excited to announce the Level Up Pitch Competition sponsored by P&G for entrepreneurs in your network. This initiative aims to empower entrepreneurial spirits with the capital to support and take their business to the next level!

The competition is open to only entrepreneurs in the YWCA association network with an incorporated, established company are eligible. We strongly encourage women and BIPOC entrepreneurs to apply! The deadline to apply is Oct. 16.

Chosen finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their business IN PERSON to a panel of judges through an invitation to the Women’s Empowerment Summit and Level Up Pitch Competition sponsored by P&G in Houston Nov. 14-15 with the opportunity to compete for $ 25,000 in prizes.   By participating in this competition, selected finalists will also gain exclusive access to valuable resources and guidance to help them through the competition process.

Apply Here      Aplicar Aqui

Pitch Competition FAQ

What is a Pitch Competition? 
A pitch competition is a contest where entrepreneurs present their business (service/product) to a panel of judges in hopes of winning capital (funds) to support their business. Companies are judged on clarity, market opportunity, and traction to date. 

When is the Pitch Competition? 
November 15, 2:00- 5:30pm EST.  

Who is eligible to participate? 
All are welcome to apply. Preference will be given to YWCA program participants and historically underserved founders.

I just turned in my application. What is next? 
Your application will go under review, and if you have been selected to advance to the final round, you will be notified on October 23, 2023 If selected, you will participate in the in the pitch competition on Nov. 15, 2:00 – 5:30 pm EDT.  

How many finalists get to pitch?  
Up to 5 finalists will be chosen. Nov. 15, 2:00 – 5:30 pm EDT. , finalists will present to a panel of judges.  

Can I apply if my business still needs to be registered? 
No. All businesses will need to be incorporated and have an EIN.  

I have a business idea, but I have yet to launch it. Can I still apply? 
Only businesses that are incorporated may apply.  

Does my business need to be in the United States?

What are the pitch competition prizes? 
$25,000 in cash prizes.  

What types of businesses is the competition looking for? 
We are seeking startup and growth businesses with the potential for success.  

How do I apply?
You can Apply Here/Aplicar Aqui

Is the application available in any language other than English? 
Yes, the application is also available in Spanish.   

Do I need to create a log in?
No. Just  Click Here/Clic Aqui to start your application. 

Is there an application fee?  
No, the application is 100 percent FREE.   

When does the application close? 
The application closes October 19, 2021, 11:59 PM ET. No applications will be accepted after this time.  

Is there an age requirement? 
All candidates must be at least 18 years of age.   

What information does the application request? 
The application asks about:  

  • General company information, such as years in business, locations, etc. 
  • Company business strategies 
  • Team size 
  • Company metrics 
  • Business needs 

How are applications evaluated?
Applications will be graded based on a rubric that will focus on: 

  • The business offering a defined competitive advantage 
  • The business goals being attainable and clearly defined 
  • The team having a proven track record or relevant sector experience 
  • The business model being scalable 
  • Preference will be given to YWCA program participants and historically underserved founders.

When will you make finalist selections? 
We expect to notify finalists by October 23, 2023.  

If selected as a finalist, what happens next? 
Upon selection, finalists will be notified and will have a limited time period to confirm attendance. Once confirmed, finalists will receive pitch prep materials, a pre-prep session, and the event run of show.   

Are there any resources available to help build our pitch? 
The selected finalists will receive resources to help build their pitch prior to the competition.  

Will I receive any guidance throughout this process? 
Finalists will receive a pitch prep session and pitch resources before the pitch competition.   

How long are the pitches? 
You will have 3 minutes to make your pitch. There will be an additional 5 minutes of Q&A.  

Are finalists pitching with slides? 
Each participant will have the option to submit up to four slides max. 

  • The four slides can only include:
    • Title slide with name of business & founder
    • Overview of business
    • Overview of team
    • Overview of traction

*There will be limited capacity for in-person attendance and hotel rooms available to attendees from around the network, but the plenary session and the Pitch Competition will be live-streamed