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Coldstream entrepreneur collects competition cash

Aria Hahn and partner were grand prize winners of business pitch event in Vancouver
Coldstream’s Aria Hahn (second from left) and her partner, Brianna Blaney, (second from right) collect the $25,000 first prize in The Odlum Brown Forum Pitch Finale competition. (Contributed)

A Coldstream woman has some extra cash in her pockets for her growing business.

Aria Hahn and partner Brianna Blaney are the co-founders of Vancouver-based Pocketed, and are this year’s winners of the Odlum Brown Forum Pitch Finale. They collect $25,000 to support their business vision and growth.

The Forum is a Canadian charity that mentors, educates and empowers self-identified women entrepreneurs.

“The mentorship provided by Ali Pejman throughout this entire process has been invaluable, and a big thank you to The Forum for providing us with mentorship, community, and more opportunities to access capital,” says Hahn.

Added Blaney: “It’s an honour to be selected as this year’s winner of The Odlum Brown Forum Pitch Finale. The $25,000 in funds will significantly contribute to growing our platform to help more businesses access grants and tax credits. Because whether you’re building a start-up, a small business, or a side hustle, there is money out there to help you grow.”

Pocketed, according to its website, is “a powerful grant matching platform designed to do all the heavy lifting for you. And it’s free to use.”

Hosted at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on April 28, and streamed to audiences across the nation, this year’s The Odlum Brown Forum Pitch Finale saw more than 2,000 attendees and viewers watch some of Canada’s most promising women entrepreneurs from diverse and emerging industries pitch their business visions for the opportunity to walk away with the cash prize.

The event also raised more than $675,000 to support The Forum’s ongoing programs as the charity marks its milestone 20th anniversary year.

“We congratulate this year’s finalists – all of whom are game changers in their respective industries,” says Paulina Cameron, CEO of The Forum. “As more women in Canada turn towards building businesses, The Forum is continuing to grow and expand programming that supports and connects women entrepreneurs, like this year’s finalists.”

Finalists included Ashwaq Al-Hashedi, Co-founder and CEO of INViCARE from Montreal, Quebec; Brianna Blaney and Aria Hahn, Co-founders of Pocketed from Vancouver; and Yasemin Emory and Whitney Geller, Co-founders of Jems from Toronto, Ontario.

Over the last three months, these finalists worked with their mentors including Amielle Lake, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of CarboNet; Ali Pejman, Managing Partner at Fort Capital Partners; and Leah Nguyen, Chief Investment Officer of InBC Investment Corp, to prepare for The Odlum Brown Forum Pitch Finale and gain clarity and exposure for their businesses.

The celebratory evening was hosted by television personality Sonia Mangat with special guest appearances by three-time Juno Award nominated singer-songwriter Jill Barber. Musical band M’Girl also shared a special Indigenous musical welcome. The event production was made possible by numerous talented partners, including women-owned CountDown Events.

The Forum Pitch is a national program that addresses the barrier of access to capital and helps self-identified women entrepreneurs navigate and fast track their funding journey. Since launching in 2016, The Forum Pitch has received more than 1,200 applications. Odlum Brown Limited has been a long-time supporter of The Forum and returned as Title Sponsor for the event. This year’s prize of $25,000 was generously donated by Wheaton Precious Metals, who returned as the Pitch Capital Sponsor.

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