Black women are among the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs in the U.S. but receive only a fraction of the funding they need and deserve. According to ProjectDiane, at the start of 2018, only 34 Black women had raised $1 million or more in outside investments for their businesses. Although these numbers are slowly shifting up, we have a long way to go before Black women entrepreneurs are on a level playing field.
As a part of their ongoing mission to help foster racial wealth equity, Capital One Business, in partnership with Boss Women Media, launched the Black Girl Magic Pitch Competition earlier this year to offer Black woman–owned businesses the funding and resources needed to grow. The two-day Black Girl Magic Digital Summit announced its winners on August 22, 2021, who were awarded grants totaling $50,000.
Each finalist pitched their business ideas to a panel of Capital One judges, including Dayna Fleming, Director, Small Business Card; Emmanuel Offiong, Vice President & CTO, Small Business Bank; and Zainep Mahmoud, Senior Director, Small Business Card.
“At Capital One, we know how important it is to invest in diverse communities and businesses, and support organizations that expand economic opportunity,” said Mahmoud. “We are proud to continue our partnership with Boss Women Media and to engage women business owners through this pitch competition.”
The two-day summit invited thousands of attendees, including a network of women who are corporate professionals, entrepreneurs and student changemakers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to take ownership of their careers and financial futures. As the lead corporate sponsor for the second consecutive year, Capital One activated its network of executives, community partners, as well as finance and career experts to discuss topics related to financial well-being, generational wealth, small business, career development and more.
THE WINNERS ARE:
First Place – Monisha Edwards, Scent & Fire Candle Company based in Dallas, TX
Monisha suffers from social anxiety, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), PTSD and asthma. After being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and not wanting to take medication, she discovered aromatherapy and burned candles to calm her environment and to keep anxiety attacks at bay. Monisha started Scent & Fire after researching the benefits of essential oils, and started curating her own scent blends in soy wax.
Scent & Fire Candle Company creates eco-luxury candles and fragrant consumables made from raw materials that will be paired with a digital wellness app to provide free and low-cost mental health resources and education on sustainable wellness practices to help destigmatize mental health in marginalized communities.
Second Place – Ashley Young, Bridal Babes based in Beltsville, MD
After struggling to find the perfect bridesmaid gowns for her diverse and shapely bridal party, Ashley knew she had to look elsewhere to achieve the vision she had for her big day—a regular clothing website. So she got to work creating Bridal Babes, which was born from what traditional wedding clothing sites and boutiques lack, and inspired by the gaping hole in a $72 billion industry that is largely dominated by white business owners, designers and influencers.
Bridal Babes is an online bridal-wear boutique offering an array of affordable and fashion-forward bridesmaid dresses and contemporary bridal attire with sizing up to 3XL and in over 30 colors.
Third Place – Jacquelyn Rodgers, Greentop Gifts based in Atlanta, GA
The holiday décor options for Black Americans is limited—gift wrap and stationery lack diversity and representation for many families. Growing up, Jacquelyn remembers her mother putting Christmas trees in every corner of their house and painting angels and Santa figurines to look like her family for the holidays. She created memories from those moments and those memories are part of the inspiration behind Greentop Gifts.
Greentop Gifts brings diversity to celebrations with apparel, home décor and stationery. Jacquelyn and her husband began Greentop Gifts in 2016 making Christmas products solely for their 2-year-old son and they have continued to spread joy to thousands of other households across the United States expanding to other holidays and special celebrations.