This Black woman entrepreneur has been awarded a $100,000 grand prize thanks to Aveeno. 

Aveeno Skin Health Startup Accelerator Pitch Competition

For the skincare brand’s Skin Health Startup Accelerator Pitch Competition, in collaboration with ESSENCE, Arielle Brown — founder of Bea’s Bayou — took home a $100,000 grant, according to a press release shared with AfroTech. The competition called for “Black women entrepreneurs with an innovative product, brand or technology that addresses Black consumer skin or hair care needs,” and Brown delivered.

In addition to the funding, the winner has access to expert mentorship.

Bea's Bayou's Holy Grail Product

Following her own personal experience with an inflammatory scalp condition, she created the Good Biome Scalp Solution — a natural product that helps to loosen stubborn scales using probiotic and herbal bioactives.

The Founder's Journey Before The Grant

Although Brown was elated to win the competition, her path hasn’t been clear-cut in regard to obtaining capital for her business.

“Every step of the way has been educational, to say the least,” Brown told AfroTech. “I was very ‘green’ to the VC world until I participated in Founder Gym and a pitch by Black Girl Ventures in 2020. Until then, I self-funded and that doesn’t mean $100k – no – that was $40. I just kept reinvesting and when I’d make some money, I’d buy something I needed. A few months into the business, I did those cohorts and those were my introductions to what it means to put yourself out there completely, numbers and all.”

Once she familiarized herself with her projections and business plan, as well as worked with a securities attorney, she had a better understanding of how to gear up toward a road to financial success.

Disrupting The Space

Now, winning the grant is not only a game-changer for Brown but for the untapped space for scalp needs that caters to various backgrounds.

Although she’s fresh off of a win, Brown is cognizant of the ongoing challenge for Black women founders like herself to secure funding.

“My challenge was reframing the idea of ‘asking for help’ to ‘inviting others to a valuable opportunity.’ That mindset changed my outlook entirely. For many Black women, we have not been told we could give someone an opportunity to build business with us. Instead, we are grilled that we ‘need help’ and ‘need to ask’ and that’s a completely different mind frame [lack mindset]. Let’s be real. The world usually tells white men, specifically, ‘You can have anything” and ‘You deserve someone’s help.'”

She added: “Also, we get financial literacy later in life and by then, we may have made credit mistakes, have more expenses due to taking care of others, or just life’s responsibilities. We can do ANYTHING, but sometimes the business-building journey is longer and real life does not always give us freedom that time provides. We get less time to do what we need to do with less resources. So it’s hard, but we got this!”  

Big Plans For The Funding

Brown plans to use the grant to create new formulas for Bea’s Bayou, update the scalp care brand’s website, improve packaging, launch its ambassador campaign, secure product certifications, and ship packages more efficiently.