Women entrepreneurs get the opportunity to pitch business ideas at HAYVN HATCH event

Women entrepreneurs were on full display Monday night in Darien for a business-pitch event with some cash prizes on the line.

Justin DeVellis and Robyn Karashik

Mar 19, 2024, 12:25 AM

Updated 31 days ago


Women entrepreneurs were on full display Monday night in Darien for a business-pitch event with some cash prizes on the line.
HAYVN is an organization that provides services, networking and memberships for anyone interested in growing and expanding their entrepreneurial skills and business ideas.
They host HAYVN HATCH events – the idea is for entrepreneurs to go up in front of a room full of people and pitch their businesses to a panel of judges, similar to the popular show Shark Tank. At Monday’s event, five women got the opportunity to do so. Sponsors M&T Bank and Darien Bank and Trust donated prize money for the winner and runner-up.
Founder and chief collaborator Felicia Rubinstein started the women-centric coworking space back in 2019 right before the pandemic.
"I think the most important thing is we're offering connections," said Rubinstein. "It's a lot different than many coworking spaces that exist in the country because of the supportive nature and the vibe about it.”
In the world of business, female founders have to grind to get funding, marketing and continue to grow – especially to compete with their male counterparts.
“Women are 50% of the world and they're only getting 1% of the funding. So, of course someone has to support them to help elevate them,” said Rubinstein.
One of the women pitching on Monday was Juliette Blake, who wants to build a better future for the next generation – but she said she needs help to make that happen.
"I'm not going to sugarcoat that being a founder is easy because it is very challenging. Especially right now in this landscape from a fundraising perspective, it's not easy.” said Blake. "I am doing this out of the goodness of my heart, but if I'm looking for capital and to grow a business there needs to be profit behind it, too.”
Rubinstein also mentioned Wendy Ward – who was the first presenter and winner. She said it’s opened up so many doors for her and women like her.
“Being able to pick up the phone and call someone and being able to come over here and meet with people. I mean, having this as a tool within my toolbox to move my company forward has been vital,” said Ward. “Going through the HAYVN process and coming out the other side of it, we know that we can do what we said we’d set out to do.”
Rubinstein said they help them find the confidence and learn the necessary tools it takes to make a successful pitch – which could turn into a successful business model.
"It helps me practice, it helps me get feedback. It helps me understand what also resonates with people and what doesn't resonate with people…it helps give me exposure, too," said Blake.
"We've created a supportive community where people can share their ideas, get that support on a down day…that's what you need to keep going," said Rubinstein.
The winner of the pitch event went home with $5,000. There will be a HATCH event at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven next week.

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