Today, Famous Amos, in partnership with the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), announced the awardees of its second annual Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative, a program that helps promising Black business owners thrive with capital and coaching resources. Podpal CEO, Aaron P. Woods was among the three winning businesses.
Over 3,500 entrepreneurs participated in the pitch contest to compete for one of three $50,000 grants. The $150,000 in total unrestricted capital is sponsored by the Famous Amos Ingredients for Success initiative and includes comprehensive mentoring, coaching, resources and tools from The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC). Of the thousands of applications, three recipients were chosen:
• Ofu Takor, General Manager and Director of Marketing of Forty Acres Fresh Market, a startup grocery store in Chicago, IL that specializes in selling high-quality fresh produce at affordable prices in primarily underserved, food desert regions of the city.
• Aaron P. Woods, CEO of Podpal, a tech company based in Atlanta, GA that has simplified the podcast production process into an innovative all-in-one platform to help storytellers drive the future of the podcast industry.
• Staci Childs, CEO of Sunnyside Legal Clinic, a legal services business in Houston, TX that offers creative litigation approaches and exceptional comprehensive results in the Sunnyside, Houston area.
“In our second year of the Ingredients for Success initiative, I’m thrilled to be able to leverage our platform to shine a light on these three companies and their amazing owners, as well as give back to their respective communities,” said Rachna Patel, Senior Director of Distinctive Brands at Ferrero.
“If the winner was based solely on the number of Famous Amos cookies purchased over the years, I knew I was a shoe in!” Aaron joked. “It’s truly an honor to represent the 3,500+ applicants who were competing for this award. Everyone is deserving, but there can only be a few winners. We’re going to make the very best us of these funds to move our business forward and help more podcasters.” Aaron says.
According to Business News Daily, a common barrier to small business owners’ financial success includes limited or inconsistent cash flow – without proper strategies to manage the fiscal component of running a business, owners may struggle to sustain their key parts of their operations.
Famous Amos believes that by pairing dynamic, driven entrepreneurs with resources and mentorship from NBCC early on will help steer their business acumen in a positive direction for years to come. Lack of resources or access to them has historically plagued Black communities in their quests for economic and social mobility, underscoring even more the importance of Famous Amos’ partnership with the nonprofit.
Famous Amos has now been able to invest $150,000 annually since 2021 directly to Black business owners who make a difference daily to the people they serve.
The pitch competition judges included some of the nation’s foremost Black business leaders: Roby Mercharles, Vice President of Partnerships at The American Dream Fund & Marketplace; Mandy Bowman, CEO of Black Wall Street; Nancey Harris & Tracy Green, CEOs of Vontelle, LLC; and Steve Canal, CEO of Flourish helped select the winning candidates.
Eligible businesses had to be at a minimum 90% Black-owned and in operation for five years or less at the time of application. For more information on the program, please visit www.FamousAmosIngredientsForSuccess.info.
Portions of this article were originally posted on Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery.