We have a winner! Marshmallow of the Month Club takes first in Chain Reaction

Kickin’ it with Kenny” on FOX 8 News in the Morning was live at Ariel LaSalle Theatre, announcing the winners of  Greater Cleveland Partnership’s (GCP) Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) the sixth season of Cleveland Chain Reaction, a neighborhood economic development project and small business pitch competition.

Marshmallow of the Month Club, maker of artisan marshmallows, fresh baked graham crackers and a signature blend of gourmet cocoa, was the $40,000 first-place winner.

It’s a Wrap LLC, a servicer of vinyl vehicle wraps, window tinting, and graphic and signage services for individuals and businesses, took second place and received $20,000, and Crochet Kitty, creator of safe, handcrafted cat toys, won $10,000 in third place.

The 15 remaining semifinalists each received $1,250 grants funded by Cleveland Chain Reaction partners Medical Mutual, Minutemen Family of Companies, and MAGNET.

Cleveland Chain Reaction 2023 at the LaSalle TheaterCleveland Chain Reaction 2023 at the LaSalle Theater“This season of Cleveland Chain Reaction had a true wow factor,” Megan E. Kim, executive director of COSE and senior vice president, membership development and marketing at GCP, said in a statement. “It is inspiring and energizing to work with such innovative and passionate entrepreneurs right here in Greater Cleveland. Whether the winner or not, COSE looks forward to continuing to engage with these businesses to support their ambitions and to help build more successful businesses that bring jobs and economic impact to our region.”

All 18 semifinalists participated in a four-week bootcamp hosted by JumpStart, a venture development organization for entrepreneurs. Business experts advised them on how to pitch their businesses, create business plans, place value on their businesses, and appropriately invest capital to take their businesses to the next level.

Then on Wednesday, Dec. 6, and on Thursday, Dec. 7, the entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to a panel of judges for the opportunity to win a capital investment.

Watch the recap videos for showcase days one and two.

Cleveland Chain Reaction 2023, 3rd place winner - Crochet KittyCleveland Chain Reaction 2023, 3rd place winner - Crochet Kitty“JumpStart is committed to helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses through transformative advising, network connections, and education,” Lauren Smith-Petta, JumpStart’s director of educational services, said in a statement. “We are proud to partner with Chain Reaction to deliver an intensive four-week bootcamp to prepare participants for growth. We're excited to see where these inspiring entrepreneurs go from here.”  

Cleveland Chain Reaction connects entrepreneurs to capital and mentors and places new businesses in Cleveland neighborhoods to create jobs and prosperity. Since its inception in 2017 (the competition was put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic), Cleveland Chain Reaction has received more than 515 applications, coached and prepared 126 small business semifinalists, connected winning businesses to more than $1.7 million in capital and provided more than 580 hours of technical assistance.

Cleveland Chain Reaction was inspired by Cleveland Hustles, the reality series produced by LeBron James that aired on CNBC in 2016. Cleveland Chain Reaction is an independent and unrelated effort that supports the continued opportunity that Cleveland Hustles initiated.

Cleveland Chain Reaction is produced by COSE in collaboration with FOX 8 News in the Morning’s “Kickin’ it with Kenny.” This season of Cleveland Chain Reaction is sponsored by Medical Mutual, Minutemen Family of Companies, and MAGNET. FreshWater Cleveland is the competition’s digital publication partner.