UGA’s Seafood Pitch Competition Aims to Boost Coastal Economy

News provided by Hayley Hunter with Marine Extension and Sea Grant of University of Georgia:

UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is looking for innovative ideas to help individuals and businesses in the seafood industry recover from economic disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What’s the Hook?” is a seafood pitch competition, funded by the National Sea Grant College Program and designed to generate ideas that support Georgia’s working waterfronts and seafood products. Winners can receive up to $15,000 to complete their projects.

“We hope the competition serves as a creative means to help coastal entities adapt to the changing conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, while also building resiliency in our working waterfronts and further promoting what makes our coast unique and attractive to our visitors,” said Bryan Fluech, associate director of extension for UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant.

Fluech, who is leading the program, modeled it after Maine Sea Grant’s successful Buoy Mainecompetition, which funded 10 projects covering a variety of topics, from promoting women-owned seafood businesses to creating a brand for specialized seafood products.

Georgia’s seafood industry suffered from supply chain issues, market uncertainties and staffing shortages during the pandemic. Despite the setbacks, the interest in locally sourced seafood continues to grow, providing new opportunities.

Any business or non-profit is eligible to participate in the competition. Ideas should accomplish one or all of the following objectives: Promote Georgia’s unique coastal seafood-related experiences; build the resilience of Georgia’s working waterfronts; strengthen Georgia’s local seafood and tourism-related industries; and assist businesses with redefining their operations or business models in response to the pandemic.

UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant faculty and staff will select the applicants they believe have the most competitive projects and meet the objectives of the competition. Those will be asked to present a five-minute pitch during the What’s the Hook? Seafood Pitch Competition in January 2022. The pitch will be evaluated by a committee representing diverse businesses, cultures and communities in coastal Georgia. Winners will have six to eight months to complete their projects.

More information about how to apply for the competition is available here