Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance announces finalists for ‘Race for Space’ program

Race for Space Finalists
(LEFT TO RIGHT: Darcel Pledge, Darryl English, Mohamed Nasraddin)
Race for Space Finalists (LEFT TO RIGHT: Darcel Pledge, Darryl English, Mohamed Nasraddin)(KCRG)
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 3:41 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Three businesses have been selected as finalists for the chance to win $20,000 towards rent and build-out at a selected property in downtown Cedar Rapids.

On September 14th, 2022, the three finalists will pitch their business idea at a Shark Tank-style event, with the winner being announced and presented a check for $20,000 that night.

“Our selection committee poured through the dozens of applications and scored each one based on an extensive rubric,” stated Jesse Thoeming, Downtown Executive Director. “These three local businesses ultimately had the highest score, and we are very excited to welcome one of them to the Downtown district.”

In addition to the $20,000, the winning business will also receive a $7,500 credit towards architectural design services and buildout support, as well as a complimentary 8-week owner education course.

The three finalists are:

  • Darcel Pledge with ExCel Childcare Services
    • ExCel aims to provide quality childcare blended with an authentic educational experience for all students. Its mission is to promote and foster developmental growth for each child in the areas of childhood literacy and social-emotional behavioral skills.
  • Darryl English with WeDream Cyber Café
    • WeDream Cyber Café is an internet and gaming café that focuses on providing an environment where gamers can meet, play games, and enjoy themselves. Their focus is to provide e-sport team-based events, cyber security educational classes, and technical project-based learning.
  • Mohamed Nasraddin with The KETO Kitchen
    • The KETO Kitchen is a restaurant that offers food that accommodates many different lifestyles and diets, including KETO, gluten-free, whole 30, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, and low-carb. There are very few restaurants that offer options like these, particularly for those with Celiac disease.

You can find more information about the ‘Race for Space’ program and the businesses at https://www.raceforthespacecr.org/