The Black Women’s Roundtable is investing in women entrepreneurs with the launch of its Take It to The TOP Entrepreneurship Challenge.
The three-month program will provide resources—and cash prizes—to promote social innovation and develop business leadership skills for black women and girls across the Midwest and Southeast.
“During [this] shift in our nation when it comes to addressing issues of racial disparities in this country, one of those things that impacts us is economic justice and economic opportunity,” said Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, at a virtual launch event on July 29th.
“For those of you out here who have ideas, who have been thinking about starting your own business, this is something we wanted to do as an organization to be part of the solution.”
Presented in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company and Verizon, Take It To The TOP is a “Shark Tank-style” challenge for women entrepreneurs in the pre-venture stage, aspiring entrepreneurs with just an idea, college students at HBCUs and community colleges, and girls age 16–17.
Challenge winners will receive prizes ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 at the state level and can advance to qualify for a chance to win up to $25,000 as the national grand prize winner, who will be recognized by the NCBCP and BWR during National Entrepreneurship Month in November 2020 and covered by Black Enterprise as the Challenge’s media partner.
Participants will also receive:
- Online business planning resources
- Technical assistance
- Mentorship opportunities with successful women entrepreneur networks
- Investment opportunities
- Life coaching opportunities
- Marketing and communications training to promote their business
To be eligible, you must be a woman or girl resident of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.
“We all know that women face significant barriers to realize their economic empowerment,” said Alba C. Baylin, Coca-Cola’s Vice President of Community and Stakeholder Relationships.
“We’ve also seen many studies show that the economic empowerment of women has a positive multiplier effect on the nutrition, health, and education of families. And when women are included as part of the conversation, we know that the economy propels growth and prosperity,” Baylin continued
“We absolutely need to be thinking about how do we make sure that black women entrepreneurs come out on the other side of this crisis and that they come out whole and well-equipped to succeed,” added Donna Epps, Verizon’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Strategic Alliances. “And more importantly what do we all need to do to work collectively to support them.”
“It’s really time that we get serious to take action to ensure that black businesses have the critical information and resources they need to sustain themselves.”