MADISON, Wis. — Hy-Vee Inc. on Thursday awarded $50,000 to local minority- and women-owned businesses during the Hy-Vee OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit at Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison.
The event was the fourth summit Hy-Vee has hosted in support of these business owners with access to funding and valuable business development resources. These summits are part of Hy-Vee’s ongoing commitment to diversifying its supplier base and product offerings, as well as supporting minority communities across its eight-state territory.
During the pitch competition component of the event, 13 companies from Wisconsin and surrounding states presented to a panel of judges and more than 200 event attendees. Each company leader was given the opportunity to demonstrate their product or explain their service for the chance to win a small-business grant from Hy-Vee. Local community business experts served as judges and selected the finalists from a pool of more than 90 applications.
Hy-Vee recognized the following businesses during its awards presentation for the pitch competition:
Grand Prize Winner – $30,000: FAVORYT Brand, Amy and Josh Woods, Seymore, WI
About: FAVORYT Brand manufactures natural body care products for sensitive skin. Products are designed to be compact and convenient for on the go.
Category: Food & Beverage
- 1st place – $5,000: Yips Snacks, Madison, WI
About: Yips Yogurt Chips are the first chips made from real Greek yogurt; no fridge required. Imagine a smoothie with all your favorite ingredients packed into sweet, crunchy chips.
Category: Innovation & Technology
- 1st place – $5,000: Altruize, Beloit, WI
About: Altruize is the first data management platform that is volunteer driven creating a centralized database with verified volunteer activities and easily accessible by all parties involved for seamless.
Category: Health, Wellness, Beauty
- 1st place – $5,000: EverFit, Shawnee, KS
About: EverFit is a small gym that aims to make fitness fun! In additional to regular training, unique classes like the EverFit60 (20 mins each of Cycling, Boxing, and HIIT), and Sweat & Sip (Workout and Wine Tasting), and other pop-ups happen monthly to keep.
Luscious Beauty by Courtney (Madison, WI) and Valley Self Defense (Stillwater, MN) were named Judges’ Choice Winners and presented with smaller cash prizes for their business ventures.
In addition to the above winners, the following also participated in the pitch competition:
- Bear’s Bites, East Peoria, IL
- FlavR Beverage Company, Kansas City, MO
- theEATbar, Lake Forest, IL
- T-Rex Cookie, Eagan, MN
- FerskTech, Corcoran, MN
- Melanin Minded, Milwaukee, WI
- Nerdbugs, Madison, WI
The event featured an expo that offered resources for small businesses, learning opportunities through presentations and panel discussions, the chance to learn about local brands and more.