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How an Innovative Competition United a Community Issuer with More Business Customers

Community financial institutions and small businesses go together like Gulf Coast oysters and hot sauce. This is why United Bank of Alabama wanted to build relationships with entrepreneurs in Eastern Alabama and Western Florida. The Discover® Debit issuer teamed with Discover and PULSE to hold the Homegrown Startup Pitchfest – a competition for local entrepreneurs with a $40,000 prize pool.

The contest kicked-off with local entrepreneurs submitting business plans to the bank. A panel of United Bank employees helped whittle down more than 50 entrants to 10 finalists. After some mentoring and coaching, the finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of judges.

For Discover, which sponsored the competition and provided the prize money, the pitchfest presented a client-centric opportunity to surprise, delight and engage United Bank’s cardholders. The experience focused on value in the partnership between United Bank and Discover.

In the end, the grand prize went to local entrepreneur Max Westendorf, who brought a uniquely Gulf Coast concept to the table: an oyster nursery he started under his home. Now all we need are a few more drops of hot sauce!

See how the pitchfest unfolded here. This is just one of the many ways Discover and PULSE support community financial institutions that issue Discover Debit.