MINNEAPOLIS — Hy-Vee Inc. awarded $50,000 to local minority- and women-owned businesses during the Hy-Vee OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit at U.S. Bank Stadium. Wednesday’s event was the third summit Hy-Vee has hosted in support of underrepresented groups to provide 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 portion of the event, 15 companies from around Minnesota had the opportunity to present to a panel of judges and more than 350 event attendees. Each company leader demonstrated their product or service for the chance to win a small business grant from Hy-Vee. A committee of community business experts and Hy-Vee executives served as judges and selected the finalists from a pool of nearly 150 applications.
Hy-Vee recognized the following during an awards presentation that followed the pitch competition:
Grand Prize Winner – $30,000: Momease Solutions, Inc., Plymouth, MN
About: Momease Solutions is a women-owned company founded in September 2021 by
Dr. Ashley Mooneyham after she struggled to effectively pump breast milk while working full time. The business aims to create an innovative warming and massaging pumping bra to facilitate fast, comfortable, and complete milk extraction while using a breast pump. To date, no pump accessory exists that combines warmth and positive pressure massage in a hands-free manner.
Category: Food & Beverage
- 1st place – $5,000: All Clean Food, Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area, MN
About: All Clean Food is founded by Laura Meemken whose mission is to make eating well easier for ALL, including those with food allergies and sensitivities. The company sells organic, gluten-free, plant-based pasta meals that are free from the top 14 food allergens. Meals are made with real ingredients only and ready to eat in 12 minutes.
Category: Innovation & Technology
- 1st place – $5,000: TurnSignl, Minneapolis, MN
About: TurnSignl is a local Black-owned mobile platform that connects drivers to attorneys via video chat during traffic stops and car accidents. The award-winning app is live in over 20 states nationwide. TurnSignl’s mission is to protect drivers’ civil rights, deescalate roadside interactions and get everyone home safely.
Category: Health, Wellness & Beauty
- 1st place – $5,000: Dress Up to Calm Down, St. Paul, MN
About: Dress Up to Calm Down helps kids with Sensory Processing difficulties, Autism and Anxiety calm down in a natural and fun way using weighted costumes. The weighted costumes provide a fun alternative to the weighted vests and blankets currently on the market right now. The organization is working on launching a line of discreet weighted everyday clothing for kids to use in the community and at school so they can fit in when they already stand out.
Soul Grain, St. Paul, MN and Silk Road Wellness, Bloomington, MN were presented with the Judge’s Choice Award and received $2,500 each.
In addition to the above winners, the following also were selected to participate in the pitch competition:
- No Sugar Baker Treats, LLC, Eagan, MN
- LOV3 IT S3ASONING, Minneapolis, MN
- Voices of Effective Change GBC dba Lutunji’s Palate, Minneapolis, MN
- The Beauty Lounge, Minneapolis, MN
- Kobi Co., Minneapolis, MN
- Suite Surroundings, Andover, MN
- Soak iT Up (Clards.com), Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area, MN
- Forever Ware, Minneapolis, MN
- Kinbee, Bemidji, MN
The event also featured an expo offering resources for small businesses, learning opportunities through presentations and panel discussions, the chance to learn about local brands and more. Event space was provided courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings.
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