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Ultimate Massage & Wellness wins $2,000 top prize in Saginaw business pitch competition

SAGINAW, MI — Bridgeport Township-based Ultimate Massage & Wellness is Saginaw Soup’s newest first-place winner.

Entrepreneur and licensed massage therapist Shawndrika Pulliam won the entrepreneurial pitch competition’s top prize of $2,000 Thursday evening, Nov. 3, for her business, located at 6215 Dixie Highway. The event took place at Central Michigan University Research Corporation (CMURC), upstairs at the SVRC Marketplace, 203 S. Washington Ave.

Pulliam said her experience working in group homes and nursing facilities and seeing her father receive hospice care inspired her to pursue a career in massage therapy.

“I always knew I wanted to work with people,” she said. “People hold a lot of stress, so to be able to find a way to make yourself feel good and to reduce stress is always a plus.”

Pulliam offers Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, aromatherapy, reflexology and self-care workshops to help support physical and mental well-being. She said massage is known to increase relaxation, reduce stress, boost mental health and wellness and lower blood pressure, among other benefits.

Pulliam and others pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges Thursday evening while audience members watched and voted for their favorite.

Ultimate Massage & Wellness, Shangri’La Candle Co. and My Michigan Made competed for the $2,000 first-place cash prize, $1,500 second-place cash prize and a People’s Choice Award equivalent to the total entry fees collected at the door. May 2022 Saginaw Soup winner Keoshia Banks, founder and CEO of Self-Love Self-Respect Sisterhood Inc., hosted the event.

Shangri’La Candle Co. won second place and the People’s Choice Award.

Saginaw Soup aims to support local entrepreneurs who have a dream and a vision for their business but need help bringing it to fruition, according to a CMURC news release. The contest allows aspiring entrepreneurs to present their business concepts to a panel in hopes of winning a cash price or investment capital. In addition, the Saginaw Soup committee provides in-depth, personalized training opportunities to all participants courtesy of CMURC and SBDC.

The competition is a collaborative effort among Saginaw Future, CMURC, Saginaw Economic Development Corporation, the Small Business Development Center, Saginaw Chamber of Commerce, the city of Saginaw and the Bridgeport and Saginaw DDAs.

Pulliam said the $2,000 prize would enable her to invest in more equipment and marketing to help grow her business.

“I’m just grateful to be a part of it,” she said. “Saginaw Soup is a good opportunity.”

Find Saginaw Soup on Facebook for more information.


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