Online Portal For Auditors Wins 'Hatching' Pitch Contest

LANSING — The September award in the Lansing area’s “The Hatching” pitch contest went to a business idea called GAIA, an acronym for Global Alliance of Independent Auditors.

GAIA is web site and series of applications to provide solutions to help auditors who have specific qualifications, proven skills, and competencies find assignments from their customers.

Jerry Noris, founder of GAIA walked away with $1,000 and other prizes to start his new business.

Each month, Beggar’s Banquet in East Lansing is the venue for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to judges and a packed audience. Winners of The Hatching receive $1,000 from a monthly sponsor — this month’s sponsorship came from Dart Development — as well as legal services provided by Loomis, Ewert, Parsley, Davis & Gotting P.C., a promotional pitch video produced by Michigan Creative, and six months of free co-working space at the New Enterprise Opportunity (NEO) Center, a business incubator in Lansing. Additionally, GAIA will compete again against other monthly winners in December for the chance at receiving $10,000 towards the business.

“Growing our economy is more than just an idea,” said Marsha Zimmerman, marketing manager at Dart Development. “This is a monthly opportunity to engage and see concepts come to life, to listen to new and seasoned entrepreneurs, all while watching positive energy circling the room. This is how we move our community forward.”

Added Paul Jaques, director of student and community engagement at Spartan Innovations, a Michigan State University tech transfer and business engagement organization: “This was a record-setting month, with more applicants and more participant votes than ever before. We had the opportunity to hear some great ideas from people who are new to the startup world, as well as from those who have started companies before.”

The Hatching competition was created by the NEO Center, Spartan Innovations, and Lansing Economic Area Partnership, or LEAP, the Lansing area’s economic development agency. It’s intended as a monthly networking event and contest for budding entrepreneurs to experience pitching and development of their ideas into working, local businesses.

Each month, entrepreneurs are invited to submit their business startup idea to the website, Through online voting, five ideas move to the final stage and those entrepreneurs are asked to pitch at The Hatching. Each innovator has the opportunity to pitch their idea for five minutes in front of a panel of judges and their peers.

“GAIA has tremendous potential to be global game changer in the auditing industry,” said Tony Willis, manager of business acceleration at LEAP. “This type of interface can build capacity within the auditing industry, along with increasing efficiency for those more specialized assignments.”

The Hatching is open to public and takes place the last Wednesday of each month at Beggar’s Banquet in East Lansing at 6 p.m. The next Hatching event will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 29.

More about LEAP at

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