Drone Zone Air Flies to Victory at LEAP’s November Virtual Hatching Event

Recreational Drone Startup Takes Top Prize at November 12 Hatching

LANSING, Mich. (Nov. 20, 2020) — Five budding entrepreneurs pitched at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership’s (LEAP) November 12 virtual Hatching event, finishing out the 2020 series of business pitch events strong.

November’s pitches included Team Hustle, a basketball and mentorship startup for young men; Thimble Media, social media marketing for creative professionals; The Palm Reader, an online Lansing-based journalism platform; and Nature’s 92, a LEAP One&All alumnae company focused on the holistic health benefits of sea moss.

Along with a great lineup of business pitches, the event featured a great judging panel including Nick Bancroft of AgroLiquid, Linda Hundt of Sweetie-licious, Amber Westendorp of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Justin Horvath of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership and Clinton County District 6 Commissioner Dr. Dwight Washington, as well as a unique storytelling-based halftime performance by Roxy Hayes-Brown during the judges’ deliberations.

Top prize went to Day’Shawn Lyons’ Drone Zone Air (DZA), a drone rental company specializing in creating fun flight experiences for special events such as birthday parties or corporate events.

Lyons was inspired to found DZA due to the growing market for creative use of drone technology. In Lyons’ pitch, he highlighted a Toy Industry Association report that states consumer sales of drones grew 224% with children 5-17 in 2016 alone.

DZA offers beginner’s drone flight lessons, racing courses, obstacle courses and drone-based games. Lyons also highlighted the timeliness of DZA’s services as a way to encourage creative, fun interaction with friends while easily maintaining appropriate safety practices due to COVID-19.

Judges appreciated Lyons’ embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit by looking ahead to how the technology industry is trending into the future with the increase in popularity of drone technology. They also saw great opportunity for scalability in his operations as DZA’s clientele base continues to grow.

“Winning this month’s Hatching was truly a blessing and an amazing experience,” said Lyons. “LEAP did a phenomenal job ensuring the contestants were prepared for the virtual pitch beforehand. I’m excited to purchase product and get Drone Zone Air, up and flying!”

The Hatching is a business pitch competition produced by LEAP. This year, LEAP has partnered with the Fledge, a one-of-a-kind space that offers spaces, tools, connections, funding and other resources for entrepreneurs to further their ideas in an environment that is radically inclusive, diverse and adaptable to all sorts of needs. This year’s virtual series provides one winning entrepreneur from each event with $2,000 in cash support, as well as connection to valuable business services. The 2020 Hatching series revolves around a central theme of resilience.

“We are so proud of all the entrepreneurs who pitched their business ideas at each of our virtual Hatching events this year,” said Anum Mughal, LEAP’s manager of new ventures. “The ability of all our participants to adapt to this new format and continue to bring innovative ideas to the table truly brought our 2020 theme of resilience to light, and showcased the unique creativity and perseverance of our region.”

The November 12 event was the last Hatching event for 2020. People interested in participating and pitching at LEAP’s Virtual Hatching competition can visit www.thehatching.org in early 2021 for information about the 2021 series of events.

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About LEAP

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all — working every day to grow, retain and attract business to the Lansing region.

About The Hatching

The Hatching is a regularly occurring business pitch competition founded by LEAP, established as part of a community wide effort to support local entrepreneurs. Participants submit business and product ideas through the Hatching’s online portal, where the public subsequently votes forward the ideas that will be pitched in front of a live audience and panel of judges.