Back in December of last year, Aveeno® announced the launch of a new accelerator program dedicated to creating more diversity, inclusivity, and equity in the skincare industry for Black women.

Today, the brand — in partnership with leading media, tech, and commerce company ESSENCE — announced the winners of its accelerator program who will receive funds toward their business goals.

According to a press release, Dr. Isfahan Chambers Harris — founder of Alodia Hair Care™ — is the first-ever recipient of the Aveeno Skin Health Startup Accelerator. She will receive tools, resources, ongoing mentorship, a feature in ESSENCE’s e-commerce portal — ShopEssence — as well as a $100,000 grant to grow her business.

“I’m honored to be the first Black women entrepreneur Grand Prize winner of the Aveeno® Skin Health Startup Accelerator program,” Dr. Isfahan said in a statement. “This is substantial in helping my company grow our business and fill a need that Black women consumers are searching for when it comes to scalp health. The support and recognition from industry-leading brands like Aveeno® and Essence is powerful and so important in building a more inclusive industry, which I’m grateful to be a part of.”

Dr. Isfahan — who’s a trained Ph.D. Scientist —  used her background in human disease research and personal experience with imperfect haircare to launch her brand. Her company offers consumers with textured hair types and scalp disorders science-based hair and scalp solutions to assist with their haircare issues, a press release reports.

Additionally, Aveeno® also announced finalist Ariane Turner — founder of Look Good Live Well™ — as another winner of the accelerator program who will receive the same rewards as Dr. Isfahan.

“I’m excited to use the $100,000 to collaborate with a team of creative Black women freelancers to catapult my business to the next level,” Turner shared in a statement.

Aveeno® created this unique accelerator program as a means to generate opportunities for Black women entrepreneurs in the skincare and haircare industries by offering them more access, education, and resources. The impact Aveeno® and ESSENCE have set out to have speaks volumes about the kind of support Black businesswomen need at this time.

“This is only the beginning,” Aveeno® Senior Director Suzanne Goldstein said in a press statement. “There is unlimited potential surrounding the impact we can make within the skincare industry and for Black consumers, specifically. The passion Black women have for changing the course of representation in beauty is inspiring and our brand is proud to be able to support their journey.”

Latraviette Smith-Wilson — ESSENCE Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer — echoed Goldstein’s sentiment stating, “At ESSENCE, we believe that providing purposeful platforms for access, capital, and expertise is vital to ensuring Black women and communities aren’t just surviving, but are thriving with the creation of generational wealth as the ultimate goal. This is why our partnership with Aveeno is such a valuable opportunity for Black women entrepreneurs.”

Looking ahead, Aveeno® and ESSENCE plan to continue the Skin Health Startup Accelerator program to increase the amount of business opportunities out there for Black women who want to make a difference in the skincare industry.

For more information about the Skin Health Startup Accelerator, click here.