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These Innovative Founders Won Big At AfroTech Conference 2022 Pitch Competitions

We’re still coming down from cloud nine after the experience we had at AfroTech Conference 2022. As we previously shared, around 25,000 attendees convened for sessions, panels, social link-ups, and more, from Nov. 13-17, after two years of meeting virtually in AfroTech World. While there was so much in store, we would be remiss to not talk about one of the conference’s most exciting moments — the pitch competitions.

Ngozi Nwanji

Dec 6, 2022

The Black Currency And Neotribe Announce The Winners Of Their Virtual Pitch Competition

Coming out on top is a dope feeling; these entrepreneurs know the vibe. Previously, AfroTech reported that Kwame Egerton II and Ackeem Kipp, co-founders of The Black Currency, hosted a virtual pitch competition in partnership with Neotribe. The competition awarded $6,000 in prize money to the selected winners. The pitch competition occurred via Zoom on July 27, intending to provide a space that recognized growth and offered an opportunity for Black business owners to raise funding. While there were only three spots for winners, four businesses were ultimately selected as there was a tie for third place. The first-place winner received $3,000, while the remaining total prize amount was dispersed among the second and third-place winners. You can check out the competition winners and their businesses below. TJL Collection – 1 st Place Winner Tiffany Lewis founded the TJL Collection, a women’s fashion brand exclusively for taller women. The brand caters to women 5’9″ and taller,...

Josh Rodgers

Sep 9, 2022

Atlanta Restaurant Owner Chad Dillon Introduces Pitch Competition To Help Currently Incarcerated Convicted Felons

Convicted felons in Atlanta, GA, will now have a chance at a new start, thanks to the efforts of entrepreneur Chad Dillon.    

Samantha Dorisca

Jul 25, 2022

The Black Currency And Neotribe To Award Thousands Of Dollars In Prize Money To Winners Of Virtual Pitch Competition

The Black dollar has consistently proved its power. From the impact of the historic community in Tulsa, OK, to the current cultural impact on the economy – there is no doubt that the Black dollar is a powerful and influential tool. This power is leveraged even more with the uptick in Black and minority entrepreneurship. Kwame Egerton II, the co-founder of Black Currency, understands this concept and partnered with venture capital company, Neotribe to create a pitch competition that would ultimately support minority-owned businesses. The Black Currency x Neotribe Virtual Pitch Competition will award participants a total of $6,000 in prize money. The aim is to create a space that cultivates growth in an environment where it’s difficult to raise funding due to macroeconomic conditions. “The Black Currency is happy to partner with Neotribe Venture Capital to help bring our virtual pitch competition for small minority-owned businesses to life. As a small business owner myself, I...

Josh Rodgers

Jul 19, 2022

Underrepresented Founders Will Have The Chance To Win Equity-Free Cash Prizes Of Up To $25K — Here's How

Circle and SeedInvest have launched a collaborative effort to support underrepresented founders. According to a press release, the Community Pitch Competition will be underway on June 1, 2022. The event will provide participants access to capital, networking, and business-building tools in hopes of propelling their business forward. What’s more, the competition will be free to enter. In the end, three founders will take home a prize pool of $5,000, $10,000, or $25,000 coupled with the option to secure funding on SeedInvest with $10,000 in fees waived. Plus, the winners may be in contention to secure bonus prizes from Ramp, Braze, and EY to bolster their business, with the stipulation that they meet additional outlined prize partner qualifications, according to the press release. “Underrepresented founders still do not have the same access to capital and economic opportunity, especially at the critical early stages of a startup,” said Rod McLeod, VP of Social Impact at Braze,...

Samantha Dorisca

Apr 26, 2022

Entrepreneur Behind Inclusive Eyewear Brand Earns $5K Grant From Black Girl Ventures, Visa

Supporting entrepreneurs starts with funding! Shelly Omilâdé Bell, founder of Black Girl Ventures (BGV) hosted Atlanta Pull Up & Pitch competition in partnership with Visa to support Black and brown small businesses on March 15. Through this program, BGV and Visa have virtually visited a number of cities, including Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Chicago with Miami competition taking place next Tuesday March 29, giving entrepreneurs from these areas the opportunity to present a 60-second pitch in hopes of securing a $5,000 grant to advance their entrepreneurial journey. For Bell, the competition is hopeful to help more entrepreneurs better articulate their business by deliberating through partnership funding, and feedback opportunities. “Black Girl Ventures as a whole focuses on pitching as an avenue for their voice. Our entire focus is on enhancing the way women can articulate who they are and what they have, and how they can be funded through those matters. Because often, we find...

Samantha Dorisca

Mar 25, 2022

NASA And The Department of Education Partner To Host Pitch Competition For HBCU Students

NASA and the Department of Education are joining forces to increase the participation of Historically Black College and University students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). According to a press release, the partnership will improve the federal Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholar Recognition Program. Thanks to NASA’s helping hand, HBCU students participating in its pitch competition can join the HBCU Scholar Recognition Program starting in early 2022. The program honors the White House mission to highlight excellence and improve the standard of living for minority students within their communities. “Our relationship with NASA validates the Biden-Harris Administration’s and the initiative’s commitment to enhancing STEM in the HBCU space,” said Arthur McMahan, senior associate director for the Initiative. “This opportunity provides our outstanding HBCU Scholars with the tools and experiences needed to succeed in the 21st Century...

Samantha Dorisca

Jan 13, 2022

Exclusive: Michael B. Jordan, Serena Ventures, MaC Venture Capital Partner To Give HBCU-Bred Founders A Chance To Win $1M

Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic — a college basketball showcase — is bringing Historically Black College and University (HBCU) culture to television screens across the nation. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Invesco US (@invescous) Airing on Dec. 18, the TNT broadcast will feature a doubleheader competition of Hampton University versus North Carolina Central University and Howard University versus North Carolina A&T University. The inaugural Legacy Classic is set to bring viewers into a full-blown HBCU experience, and now, the event is also creating opportunities for current HBCU students and alumni. According to a press release provided exclusively to AfroTech, the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic has partnered with MaC Venture Capital and Serena Ventures — tennis legend Serena Williams’ investment firm — to create a Startup Pitch Competition for HBCU founders. “At MaC we like to say that talent is ubiquitous but access to opportunity is not,” MaC Venture Capital General Partner...

Ngozi Nwanji

Oct 18, 2021

Entrepreneurs Awarded $1.2M In Financial Support Thanks To The Meda Million Dollar Challenge

Five entrepreneurs have walked away with the funding needed to help their businesses flourish. According to PR Newswire, Metropolitan Economic Development Association’s Million Dollar Challenge — the largest Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurial competition in the nation — has announced the winners of the fourth annual competition where five companies received $1.2 million in financial support. Metropolitan Economic Development Association ( Meda) was founded by a group of Minnesota business leaders who were looking to attack inequity within minority communities in the state. The press release states, “Meda operates a growing Community Development Fund Institution (CDFI) that provides needed capital for BIPOC businesses to become sustainable.” Since its inception, it has helped to launch more than 500 BIPOC businesses and helped with more than 23,000 Minnesota BIPOC entrepreneurs. Almost 200 businesses in the U.S. applied to participate with only 12 making...

Shanique Yates

Sep 23, 2021

Beats By Dre, MACRO Partner On Film Pitch Competition For Atlanta HBCU Students

Beats By Dre and movie producer Charles D. King’s MACRO company have joined forces to help students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Atlanta pursue their Hollywood film dreams. According to a press release shared with AfroTech, the two companies have partnered together on a film pitch competition that will grant current students and recent alumni of four Atlanta HBCUs the chance to pitch their film passion projects to top Hollywood executives. Winners of the competition will then get the opportunity to attend the Beats Black Creators Summit later this year and The 2022 MACRO Lodge at Sundance Film Festival in January 2022. Eligible students who will be considered for the pitch competition must be at least 18-years-old and matriculate from either Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University or Morris Brown College. At a time where representation in the film industry is key to advancing the conversation around diversity and inclusion in...

Njera Perkins

Aug 16, 2021

PITCH PLEASE! Competition Awards $300K To Black Women Beauty Businesses Revolutionizing The Industry

Black women-owned beauty businesses deserve more funding to help jumpstart their revolutionary ideas, and thanks to the PITCH PLEASE! competition a few lucky entrepreneurs will be able to do just that. PITCH PLEASE! — a pitch competition powered by Pull Up For Change’s Impact Fund and New Voices Foundation — gathered several up-and-coming Black women-owned beauty brands to pitch their best business ideas that aim to disrupt the industry. After sharing why these brands are the next big thing to help shift the beauty landscape, judges announced this year’s finalists during the 2021 Essence Festival. Winners of the competition — who took home $100,000 — include holistic wellness company Peak and Valley — which provides sustainably packaged, mindfully sourced, and inclusive products; and clean lifestyle beauty brand Peculiar Roots — which specializes in a unique line of products specifically designed to care for locs and natural hair. Other winners include plant-based skincare and...

Njera Perkins

Jul 16, 2021

Dallas Cowboys' Jaylon Smith To Host $200K Annual Pitch Competition For Minority Entrepreneurs

For the past three years, Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowler Jaylon Smith and his agency — the Jaylon Smith Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI) — have supported eight early-stage ventures led by Black founders and invested over $800,000 in capital across marketplaces in Texas and Indiana — all of which have presented $13 million in investable opportunities. This week, his agency announced the third annual MEI Florida Showcase and Pitch Competition in Tampa, which will hone in on business ideas from Black, Latinx and women entrepreneurs. The annual competition is supported by a plethora of dedicated companies and individuals who all believe in closing the racial wealth gap for minorities in America. “I am so excited for our third annual MEI Showcase,” Smith shared in a statement. “The entrepreneurs from Indiana and Texas were outstanding and I am looking forward to supporting minority-owned businesses in Florida!” According to a press release shared with AfroTech, Crunchbase reported...

Njera Perkins

Apr 22, 2021

10 Black Creator Teams Will Compete For $150K at PitchBLACK Forum to Uplift Black Content

Black Public Media (BPM) — an organization committed to educating, enlightening, empowering and engaging America about the Black experience — has just announced that 10 producing teams will compete for a chance to win up to $150,000 in project funding at its upcoming PitchBLACK Forum. According to a press release shared with AfroTech, the PitchBLACK Forum — an interactive pitching competition for Black creators — is a high-stakes event that merges the concept behind BPM’s intensive 360 Incubator+ Fellowship — a holistic professional development program — to fuel the existing pipeline of quality Black content. “The strength of BPM’s 360 Incubator+ is the collaborative effort of our mentors and workshop leaders combined with the amazing talent of our fellows,” BPM Director of Program Initiatives Denise Greene shared in a statement. “Even in a virtual environment, there was a strong sense of community and a shared mission to elevate Black stories.” Since January, 360 Incubator+ has...

Njera Perkins

Apr 2, 2021

Kim Crawford Wines Commits to Investing $50K Toward Black Girl Ventures' Virtual Pitch Competition

Two women-led brands are joining forces to search for the latest innovators in self-care, technology, and wellness. Kim Crawford Wines — the No. 1 Sauvignon Blanc and leading New Zealand wine brand in the U.S. — has announced a new partnership with non-profit Black Girl Ventures (BGV), the largest pitch program for Black and brown women in the world. The BGV x Kim Crawford Wines Pitch Competition is a national crowdfunding virtual pitch competition that will promote women working to bring their dreams to life while reiterating the two brands’ shared values of not only empowering female trailblazers but celebrating self-confidence every step of the way. “We’re excited to partner with Kim Crawford Wines to make this pitch competition possible,” said Shelly Bell, Founder, and CEO of Black Girl Ventures in an official news release. “This collaboration will create access to capital for Black and brown women-identifying founders, and will also connect them to community and professionals...

Shanique Yates

Mar 11, 2021

Howard University to Launch Program to Provide Training and Support For Minority Entrepreneurs

Minority entrepreneurs at Howard University (HU) will be getting some entrepreneurship training and support from this new program. The prominent HBCU is teaming up with the Inclusive Innovation Incubator (In3DC) and financial services tech provider Fiserv to launch the Inclusive Innovation Labs, a program dedicated to helping entrepreneurs of color launch and scale their businesses plans. The program will also be supported by the National Black Chamber of Commerce. The inaugural cohort will welcome 15 HU-affiliated ventures to a virtual program that includes a full day of pitch preparation, one-on-one coaching sessions and entrepreneurship workshops. In3DC will lead and provide the tailored training throughout the program. “We have been committed to serving the underrepresented and underserved communities,” said In3DC Founder and CEO Aaron Saunders in a statement. “In3DC was established to provide this type of programming with educational partners such as Howard University and...

Michelai Graham

Feb 4, 2021