Local Business Dotz Allergy Friendly Baked Goods Wins KeyBank's Key4Women, TheWMarketplace, UW and UWT Women-Owned Business Pitch Contest

Local Business Dotz Allergy Friendly Baked Goods Wins KeyBank's Key4Women, TheWMarketplace, UW and UWT Women-Owned Business Pitch Contest

10 Seattle and Greater Puget Sound start-up and existing WOB businesses competed for $47,000 in awards
Left to right: Rachael Sampson – National Director Key4Women, A Kouture – Owner of Dotz Allergy Friendly Baked Goods LLC
Photo: Left to right: Rachael Sampson – National Director Key4Women, A Kouture – Owner of Dotz Allergy Friendly Baked Goods LLC | Photo Credit: Eliud G. Rodriguez, Jr

Photo: Left to right: Rachael Sampson – National Director Key4Women, A Kouture – Owner of Dotz Allergy Friendly Baked Goods LLC | Photo Credit: Eliud G. Rodriguez, Jr

Monday, September 26, 2022 - 9:00am

CAMPAIGN: KeyBank's Commitment to Diversity

CONTENT: Press Release

SEATTLE, September 26, 2022 /3BL Media/ – KeyBank’s Key4Women program, TheWMarketplace, University of Washington Foster School of Business, and University of Washington Tacoma Milgard School of Business announced that local business, Dotz Allergy Friendly Baked Goods, is the winner of a business pitch contest for women-owned businesses (WOBs) located in Seattle and Greater Puget Sound. The event was held September 15th at UW Foster School of Business in Seattle.

Owner A Kouture won the grand prize of $20,000, which will go toward growing Dotz, in Tacoma, WA. Dotz Allergy Friendly Baked Goods is a manufacturer of allergy-friendly delicious treats for people with food sensitivities, medically modified diets, and overall health.

A Kouture was one of 10 finalists that were selected to compete for cash awards totaling $47,000 from a pool of 95 applicants. The UW Tacoma Milgard School of Business and the Foster School worked together to review and select entries that satisfied the competition criteria. Businesses were required to include a detailed business plan, mini-market analysis and profit projections for their service or product. All were judged by a panel of sponsor representatives in one of two categories, start-up business or existing business. Other cash winners include:

  • Runner up: Mattice Beauty Supply, Tacoma, WA- $5,000 prize- Only black and women owned beauty shop in Tacoma featuring women owned products.
  • Runner up: Lina Kim DDS, PS, Seattle, WA- $5,000 prize- Mobile dentistry- Floss Boss- will bring dental services to the patients and give back to the community.
  • Bella’s Pet-Friendly Kitchen LLC, Seattle, WA- $ 2,500- Seattle-based manufacturer of premium food for dogs to enjoy.
  • Cirkled In Inc- $2,500, Seattle, WA- Young professionals’ cloud-based platform for GenZ youth to showcase their professional achievements and stay connected.
  • Fanatio, Inc.- $2,500, Tacoma, WA- Gamified social platform generating a fun and comprehensive fan experience with college and pro sports teams.
  • Onsight Physical Therapy LLC, Tacoma, WA- $2,500- Cash-based business that provides physical therapy consultation and personal training.
  • The Bajan Station LLC- $2,500, University Place, WA- Food service operating as a booth at local farmers markets serving fresh nutritious Caribbean dishes.
  • The City Loo- $2,500, Kirkland, WA- Hassle-free option to ensure pets potty needs are met.
  • The Neighborhood Plant Project LLC- $2,500, Tacoma, WA- Through collection of donated plants, they are replanted and distributed to elderly and disabled people who may be homebound.

UW Foster School of Business provided application support to women-owned businesses throughout the application process and along with other sponsor support in helping them prepare their pitches.

“We congratulate A and her team at Dotz Allergy Friendly Baked Goods on winning the grand prize. Their pitch was inspiring, and we are so glad to help them grow and expand,” said Rachael Sampson, national director, Key4Women. “Women business owners and leaders positively impact our economy and communities in powerful ways every day, which is evident based on the strength and diversity of the applications we received.”

To be eligible, businesses were required to be 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women. They must also be headquartered in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, or Kitsap counties.

The finalists presented a 4-minute pitch and fielded questions for six minutes on September 15th at UW where the event took place.

Final awards were chosen by a panel of five judges, which included:

  • Kate Isler, CEO & Co-Founder of TheWMarketplace
  • Jimmy Ng, KeyBank, Sr. Business Banking Relationship Manager
  • Matt Hill, KeyBank Seattle Cascades Market President
  • Julie Pittsinger, Owner, Karma Vineyards
  • Faye Stephens, Owner, Ezell’s Famous Chicken

Criteria used to determine winners included the quality of the presentation, clarity of business vision and mission, economic impact of the idea and the soundness of value proposition.


Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a women-owned, nation-wide ecommerce marketplace for female entrepreneurs to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 3500+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more.


The UW Consulting and Business Development Center links students, faculty, and staff from the Foster School of Business with a racially and ethnically diverse business and nonprofit community to expand students' knowledge and skills, help small businesses grow, create and retain jobs, open educational opportunities for under-represented minority students, and stimulate innovative economic development research.


The Milgard School of Business is at the epicenter of Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest’s cultural and economic growth, making it the perfect place to dream big about the future. One program, the Milgard Women's Initiative, is a valuable resource within the school, supporting real-world mentoring and one-to-one pairing, inspiring long-term relationships with women business professionals. Students also receive negotiations and marketing support. Another program, within the Center for Business Analytics, is a hub for digital innovation. Our employment powerhouse, Master of Science in Accounting, a STEM program, and the unique Sports Enterprise Management program, and Students Assisting Business outreach makes the entire school a conduit between business students and the thriving diverse communities that embrace us.


KeyCorp's roots trace back nearly 200 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $187.0 billion on June 30, 2022. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,000 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.


Key4Women started in 2005 as a campaign to lend $1 billion to qualified women-owned businesses within three years. The program achieved that in two years and has now generated more than $12 billion in loans to women-owned businesses. Membership in Key4Women is free. In addition to helping women business leaders and owners tap into capital to build and grow their businesses, Key4Women members gain valuable access to a team of local Certified Key4Wome Advisors who advocate, connect and empower women on their journey to financial wellness. For more information, visit key.com/key4women.