Harlem Capital — the New York-based early-stage venture capital firm — is on a mission to nurture the growing field of entrepreneurship by offering plentiful business opportunities to BIPOC and women founders.

In an effort to continue their strong commitment to diverse businessmen and women in the U.S., they partnered with Forbes this year to host their first-ever MORE EQUITY Pitch Competition.

Along with the support of TPG, Grasshopper Bank, M12, Lerer Hippeau, RSM, and Techstars, Harlem Capital brought together notable investors and celebrities to help celebrate the slew of recognized founders from emerging startups at this year’s competition.

To further invest in these founders’ business models, Harlem Capital nominated finalists to compete for $50,000 to have their company pitches considered by special guest judges Jewel Burks Solomon, Jenny Fielding, and Lolita Taub, with Founder Gym CEO Mandela SH Dixon hosting.

Finalists for the pitch competition included Derek Canton — CEO of Paerpay; Sydney Davis — CEO of Tequity; Ana Leyva — CEO of Lelu; Lorenna Feliz Santos — CEO of Diam Life; Oscar Pedroso — CEO of Thimble.

Following today’s inaugural competition, Harlem Capital announced both Davis and Canton as its first and second place winners, taking home $40,000 and $10,000 prizes, respectively, to help fund their businesses.

Davis’s company Tequity helps business owners and entrepreneurs build and launch their own apps for a low monthly fee through their no-code required app building platform; While Canton’s company Paerpay provides a contactless payment provider system to eliminate the spread of germs in the wake of today’s health pandemic.

Seeing how successful this year’s pitch competition was, the hope for Harlem Capital now is to see how they help even more founders jumpstart and progress their business models in the future.

For more information on Harlem Capital and its upcoming initiatives, click here.