A job platform for military spouses, a college budgeting tool and a self-serve dog wash beat 18 other startups in a competition to collectively take away $22,500 in funds.

Erica McMannes took the coveted first place prize of $10,000 for her military spouse job platform, MadSkills.

But it took a whole weekend of pitches and refining her business and ideas to take the top spot.

Start Peninsula is a pitch competition focused on helping Peninsula startups get off the ground. And although every competitor vies for a place in the top three at the end, the weekend-long event provides resources, keynote speakers and mentors to help refine business ideas and create a productive weekend for every pitcher – regardless of whether they get funds.

The event rotates between Williamsburg, Newport News and Hampton. This is its sixth year and second time in Williamsburg at the Stryker Center.

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