The edg3 Fund offers a $20,000 prize to a small business

Mount Vernon’s BridgeCare Finance took home the $20,000 prize in Kitsap Bank’s edg3 Fund competition. The finance company, which provides loan services to parents needing help with childcare, was picked from a pool of five finalists who presented Thursday night in Bremerton.

edg3 Fund

Photo courtesy Kitsap Bank

A $5,000 community edg3 award went to semifinalist The Smithshyre from Poulsbo.

The Eastside represented at the finals with a special speech by former edg3 finalist Matthew “Griff” Griffen of Combat Flip Flops. Griffen’s company was a finalists last year, and since then Combat Flip Flops has gone on to successfully pitch the Sharks on ABC’s Shark Tank. 

Griffen shared the story of his company and encouraged all the entrepreneurs to keep following their dreams, even if they did not win the edg3 prize.

“When push comes to shove, (entrepreneurs) hustle,” he said.

Kitsap Bank created the edg3 Fund (which rhymes with “hedge fund”) in order to support small businesses making a difference in the community. A pool was narrowed down to 11 semifinalists and then five finalists. BridgeCare Finance was the last company standing.

The company offers bridge financing to working families who need help with the cost of childcare — a major expense on par with paying for college.

“Families are left with bad to worse options when it comes to childcare,” Audra Jung of BridgeCare said in her presentation to the judges.

Short-term lines of credit are available that reduce the monthly childcare bill up to 50 percent. Families pay BridgeCare monthly and the company handles the rest of the tuition.

The company is ready to launch its pilot of 25 loans and petitioned the judges for the $20,000 to turn the concept into reality.

The competition had four runners up: Gig Harbor’s Brett Marlo Design Build; Kingston’s Silver Creek Angus, LLC; Auburn’s JikoPower, Inc; and Sequim’s Sequim Bee Farm.