September 24, 2021

Black-Owned Start-Ups Awarded $1.2M In Financial Support Thanks To The Meda Million Dollar Challenge

Three Black founders have walked away with enough money to make their businesses flourish after the largest Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurial competition in the nation picked them as winners.

This is the fourth annual competition where five companies received $1.2 million in financial support.

Metropolitan Economic Development Association – also known as Meda – was founded by a group of Minnesota business leaders looking to attack inequity within minority communities in the state.

“Meda operates a growing Community Development Fund Institution (CDFI) that provides needed capital for BIPOC businesses to become sustainable,” according to their press release.

Since its launch – it has helped launch more than 500 BIPOC businesses and helped with more than 23,000 Minnesota BIPOC entrepreneurs.

How does it work?

Almost 200 businesses in the U.S. applied to participate, with only 12 making it to the Bootcamp for Successful Pitches, in which they competed in front of 40 judges.

Meda CEO, Alfredo Martel, said: “We had an incredible number of remarkable companies participate in the Meda Million Dollar Challenge this year, leaving all of us impressed and inspired.”

“As we continue to navigate past the pandemic into the new economy, the innovation and dedication from these entrepreneurs leave me hopeful for the impact they will have on the economy and their community.”

Who are the winners?

Four of the five companies were women-owned, and three of them were Black-owned. Here are the winners

Seraph 7 Studios– $200,000 founded by Jules Porter Esq.

Seraph 7 Studios develops console video games (PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo) that change Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities worldwide. Seraph 7 distributes through online marketplaces for instant purchase-to-play.

Seraph 7 Studios is a Minnesota Public Benefit Corporation and will release its first game in Q1 2022.

Bon AppeSweet– $350,000 founded by Thereasa Black, CEO, Founder

“In the beginning, fruits were the world’s, only sweeteners. Bon AppéSweet is taking you back to your nutritious roots.”A good old-fashioned sweet shop, full of the things you remember and love from your youth.

Slick Chicks– $250,000 founded by Helya Mohammadian

Patented adaptive underwear that is designed to empower people with a disability or physical challenge. They feature hook-and-eye fasteners at the waistband, so anyone can seamlessly transition in and out of their clothing, regardless of their situation

HercLéon– $200,000 founded by Wenceslaus Muenyi.

“We make clothing for people who live busy lives and need their clothes to keep up. Our clothing can be worn for days, weeks, or even months without worry.

“Everything we design, we strive to make it as close to laundry-free as possible, so it’s always your choice if you want to wash your HercLéon gear, and if you choose not to wash them, they’ll smell as clean as they did when you first wore it.

“Our innovative material, HercFiber, is the core of every product we design.”

FitnesCity– $200,000 founded by Laila Zemrani

“We see traditional healthcare as reactive and the Quantified Self movement as incomplete. We believe there is a solution: making preventative lab testing accessible to the general consumer. We do the work, connecting people to our network of trusted lab partners around the country and supporting them through the process.

“We then take the results and generate insights on our digital platform, which makes tracking progress over time simple, inspiring accountability. Understanding your factors of well-being empowers proactivity and allows you to truly put your wearables to work.”

Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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