Black Girl Magic Pitch Competition Awards $100K in Grants
The top three finalists out of a pool of more than 10,000 submissions take home grants to grow their companies
Despite the headlines of historic achievements for women-led business lies a portion of the population pushing upstream without a clear cut path to equally successful outcomes. A recent report showed that Black business ownership increased by 30% during the pandemic, with Black women as the fastest-growing demographic within that group.
However, Black women-led business owners face a disproportionate number of challenges on the path to long-term success. From securing funding and mentorship to overcoming unforeseen obstacles, it’s a tough road to running a thriving business. Intentional and wide-scale support for Black female business owners is pivotal to shift the tide.
That’s why Capital One Business teamed up with Boss Women Media for the third consecutive year for the Black Girl Magic Summit Pitch Competition. As part of the summit, the Pitch Competition awarded grants totaling $100,000 (upping the ante from $50,000 in 2021) to the top three finalists out of a pool of more than 10,000 submissions from Black, women-owned businesses.
Supporting programs like Black Girl Magic are a foundational component of Capital One’s Impact Initiative, a multi-million dollar commitment to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility by closing gaps in equity and opportunity. The Impact Initiative builds upon Capital One’s mission and supports racial equity, affordable housing, small businesses, workforce development and financial well-being.
"I believe if we can create resources for Black women to gain access to capital, we can change families, communities and generations to come,” said Marty McDonald, Founder and CEO of Boss Women Media. “I am on a mission at Boss Women Media to change the narrative around Black women, and sit in spaces that allow others to not just survive but thrive."
First place and a $50,000 grant went to Amber Williams of Le Rouge Cuisine. Blair Gyamfi and Morgan Taylor of Moms Actually took home second and a $30,000 grant. Third place and a $20,000 grant went to Fathiyyah Doster of Juice Defined.
Each finalist pitched their business ideas to a panel of Capital One judges, including Monisha Edwards, founder of Scent & Fire Candle Company and 2021’s first place winner; Ashley Young, co-founder of Bridal Babes and 2021’s second place winner; Zainep Mahmoud, Vice President, Small Business Card at Capital One and Mekina Raga, Vice President, Business Development Banker at Capital One.
“This year's pitch competition winners are building inspirational businesses that are positioned for growth while also having a positive impact on society,” said Zainep Mahmoud, Vice President, Small Business Card at Capital One. “Providing $100,000 in grants in partnership with Boss Women Media will not only help the winners grow their companies, but also continue to help communities thrive."
Meet the 2022 Black Girl Magic Pitch Competition Winners
First Place ($50,000) – Amber Williams, Le Rouge Cuisine
In 2014, Amber Williams was hustling to build her catering business in the little free time she had while working a full-time corporate job.
“I was on a tightrope, trying to balance a job I hated that was paying my bills and the future business I had always dreamt about,” said Williams. “I remember one day, I turned to God and asked, ‘What do I do?’ To my surprise, in the most calm voice, He said, ‘Jump.’ With assurance and a little fear, I quit my job and began my entrepreneurial endeavor as a self-taught Chef.”
The goal was simple for Williams – serve memorable food to as many people as possible. And that’s where Le Rouge Cuisine was born.
Today, Le Rouge specializes in professional, customizable and unique catering solutions, going above and beyond to execute exhilarating Creole dining experiences with southern charm and hospitality.
That’s not all though. A big part of Le Rouge’s mission is committed to furthering education and access to healthy foods in food disparaged communities within the Dallas Fort-Worth metroplex. Williams’ goal is to open a commercial kitchen in Southern Dallas that can serve as a multi-use production space for her business, and for other local companies.
When we asked Williams what advice she would give to aspiring entrepreneurs today, she said, “Three things. Stick to your vision, but be agile. Ask for help, you can’t do everything alone. Keep educating yourself to refine your craft.”
Second Place ($30,000) – Blair Gyamfi and Morgan Taylor, Moms Actually
In the wake of the pandemic, friends Blair Gyamfi and Morgan Taylor set out on a mission to redefine motherhood and break away from the unhealthy expectations society places on women as a whole.
From Gyamfi’s experience with postpartum anxiety to Taylor’s journey of becoming a mom at the age of 19, the women bonded over their desire to help moms navigate parenting in today’s world.
Enter Moms Actually – a talk show that creates a space for moms to have candid and vulnerable discussions about the realities of womanhood and motherhood. “We are building a community where motherhood meets sisterhood to support those who have felt alone in their personal parenting journey, giving them a relatable voice to champion their experiences.”
Their topic-based conversations are aimed at breaking away from the “glossy” images of parenting on social media that create an impossible standard to live up to.
With an extra $30,000 on hand, Gyamfi and Taylor excitedly expressed, “This grant could not have come at a better time because we’re gearing up for season two of our show. So these funds will offset production and operational costs in a major way!”
Third Place ($20,000) – Fathiyyah Doster, Juice Defined
After a near death experience with HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelets) in 2010 while giving birth to her daughter, followed by years of health-related issues and surgeries, Fathiyyah Doster came to the conclusion that strength isn’t determined by a person’s physical capacity, rather their indomitable will.
It was then she discovered the power of juicing, and how beneficial juicing was to her healing process.
As a mother, former counselor and community enthusiast, Doster wanted to bring awareness to simple practices people could incorporate into their daily lives to improve their quality of life. “I am a living testimony of what simple changes can do,” Doster reflected.
She believes that providing access to nutritious options and improving what we consume will change the trajectory of people’s lives. That’s why she founded Juice Defined – South Florida’s premier juice detox company providing raw, fresh and cold pressed juices, made to order and delivered right to your front door. Located in a food desert, her business uniquely offers healthy options to the Opa Locka community.
And while the pandemic hit most small businesses hard, Doster believes it was a silver lining. “The pandemic was difficult, but it actually was a blessing in disguise. People began looking for healthier options to alleviate symptoms of illness. They were interested in natural, holistic ways to care for themselves. So while it was challenging in many ways, the pandemic also allowed us to scale our business.”
If you missed the Black Girl Magic Summit on Amazon Prime, or want to rewatch your favorite sessions, visit the Boss Women Media website.