Troy Parker of Innovative Cleaning Services with Sonya Walton, Bob Inkrot and Steve Eder of Messer (photo copyright Easley Blessed)

Fifty local businesses applied and 18 small businesses made their best pitch to Fifth Third Bank and Messer Construction Co to win not just money, but wisdom, insight and direction at The Pitch competition held July 26. Other collaborators in the event included the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, African American Chamber of Commerce, Cincinnati Department of Economic Inclusion, Mortar, RCF Group, Best Upon Request, Kolar Design and Cintrifuse.

Troy Parker, founder and president of Innovative Cleaning Services, won first place in the competition for Messer. He said The Pitch allowed small business owners to network with executives at larger companies, which fostered dialogue and the sharing of ideas. Innovative Cleaning Services is a full-service temporary staffing company that primarily services the construction industry. Parker explained that his company will begin to integrate technology into his business as it continues to grow. “Our plans include us servicing our customers more efficiently by creating a platform for contractors while also creating advancement opportunities for our employees.” 

“It has been proven that supplier diversity is an imperative that benefits businesses, suppliers, customers, and communities. We collectively realized that we have a lot of talent in our community, and we wanted to create a platform to find out what companies existed,” said Sonya Walton, Messer’s director of economic inclusion. “We have to ensure that we are keeping our pipeline of diverse suppliers open, especially in construction. The Pitch was a way for us to get access to this type of talent and for us to be directly involved with helping their business grow.” 

As Messer's first-place winner of the competition, Innovative Cleaning Services receives a one-on-one meeting with Messer’s regional vice presidents, an introductory lunch with Messer’s senior management team, a financial assessment by the Minority Business Accelerator, and quarterly mentoring from a Messer senior manager. Messer’s second-, third-, and fourth-place winners will attend a seminar, “Doing Business with Messer,” as well as receive quarterly mentoring and coaching opportunities for their businesses. 

Messer winners
1. Innovative Cleaning Services
2. Royal Maids Janitorial Services 
3. Evolution Creative Solutions
4. Home Group Development
5. Bickley Innovations

Other finalists competing for Messer prizes were: Atmos360 Air Systems Solutions, Bickley Innovations, CochranEam Group, and Glovon and Clovon Engineering Consulting. 

The Fifth Third winner of the competition receives a first-place prize package worth $10,000, which includes a Cintrifuse membership, a one-year Union Hall residency and an $8,850 cash investment in their business. Second-, third-, and fourth-place winners earned cash prizes. 

Fifth Third winners
1. Wyzerr    
2. Finix Payments    
3. MergeIn  
4. Natalus    
5. The Home Team    
Honorable Mention: Cincy Mobile Barbering    

Other finalists for the Fifth Third prizes were BoxxWave, CloudSheet, DVRS Stock, and PopCom.
To learn more about The Pitch, visit