Winners received cash prizes, and audience cast their votes in the Audience Choice Award in the online event
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation celebrated Black History Month by honoring three local leaders and hosting a Black-owned business pitch competition for startups and small businesses.
VSEDC honored Kiesha Nix, Vice President of Charitable Affairs for the Los Angeles Lakers, Akil West, Founder of Sole Folks and Sole Folks Art Lab and Gallery and Heather Hutt, Councilwoman for the 10th District.
Chosen from a field of over 60 applicants, six finalists pitched their businesses to a panel of judges and an audience of lenders and other small businesses. Finalists were scored by traditional and non-traditional lenders which included representatives from Citi, Union Bank, Comerica, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Capital One, VSEDC CDFI and Clearinghouse CDFI.
First, second, and third place winners received $1,500, $1,000 and $500, respectively. The Audience Choice Award winner also walked away with an additional $500.
Among the startups, Emily Woodman-Nance, representing At Their Side, a service that allows healthcare staff members to focus on care instead of phone calls, took first place. Courtney Lockridge, representing Shaped Secretz LLC, offering the latest non-surgical, non-invasive beautifying procedures came in second place and Quanda King, representing PaintNoirLLC, a delivery service featuring culturally relevant art kits came in third.
Among the small businesses first prize went to Candace Walker, who pitched Generation Connect, Inc., a social impact community bringing teens together with seasoned adults for engagement, enhancement and entertainment services. Second prize went to TK Trinidad, who pitched Center In, an all-natural, high-quality, one-of-a-kind skin care and candle product line. Synovia Jones came in third with Nobe’s P.B. Foods, locally sourced, sustainable plant-based food options.
Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC) is a community-based nonprofit and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) recognized for decades of technical and entrepreneurial assistance to South LA small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs. The service VSEDC provides serves to drive community self-sufficiency, facilitate business growth, access to affordable housing, goods and services, and job creation. VSEDC achieves this through youth education and entrepreneurial projects, CDFI programs, and fundraising efforts. Find out more about VSEDC at www.vsedc.org, Facebook and Twitter.
SOURCE Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation