On January 29th, 2020, Ulule and Bank of the West landed in Sacramento where a selection of 12 women entrepreneurs and impact makers presented their project to an eager crowd of nearly 100 guests (and on a Wednesday evening that’s no small feat!).
Since I started working at Ulule, our Growth team organized about 100 Pitch Pitch events featuring hundreds and hundreds of entrepreneurs with some really inspiring, impactful businesses and projects. And at every single Pitch Pitch event, I’m still blown away as if it were our first. The ambition of these people make every event special and unique. Every Pitch has me thinking “Wow, this is what a change maker is. I’m happy it’s not just a buzz-word”. It’s also the kind of moment where I tell myself “Wow, these women are killing it. Could I ever have the tenacity for that?”. Mmmmmh, for now, I’ll just make sure that our team and I organize more of these events across the US, Canada, Belgium, France, Spain… And that’ll be my own contribution for change: to give these wonderful entrepreneurs a voice and a platform to amplify their actions.
At Pitch Pitch events, there’s always a winning combination of a jury’s selection of 3 finalists, and then an online vote by the AUDIENCE to actually let the crowd decide who should win the ActForImpact Bank of the West Award: a matching grant of 5,000$ to support their crowdfunding campaign!
Last night, our jury was composed of Laura Good (I told her she had the best first AND last name ;)) who is an inspiring person from the moment you meet her. And then you discover that she is all over the place making sure the Sacramento entrepreneurial community is supported as it should be, and you’re even more impressed. We also had the pleasure to have George Glines, SVP, Small and Medium Enterprise Business Lending Manager at Bank of the West and Mark Haney, a Sacramento-based “Shark”, CEO of HaneyBiz, host of The Mark Haney Show, who shared an incredible energy to give valuable feedback and advice to the entrepreneurs.
The 3 finalists were 🥁
1. Single Mom Strong, founded by Tara Taylor, a community for the empowerment of single mothers and their children
2. American Umma, founded by Khanstoshea Zingapan, a lifestyle and fashion brand mixing American traditional apparel and covered clothing
3. Mental Health Justice, founded by Dolores Sanchez, an online community for mental illness sufferers
The crowd voted, and the winner is… SINGLE MOM STRONG! Having served 600 mothers and children in the past three years in their initial chapter in Sacramento County, the funds collected through her campaign will allow Single Mom Strong to open new chapters across the U.S. She shared quite a worrisome statistic: 1 in 4 children in the U.S. is being raised by a single mom. To learn more about all the resources and a grassroots efforts they provide, check their Ulule campaign 👉 https://www.ulule.com/single-mom-strong/
Local + Sustainable 🙋🏻
Morganne Leigh, self-taught solo entrepreneur, had another simple yet impactful idea: to upcycle plastic waste she found on the Los Angeles beaches to create… sunglasses! She’s proven to be a solid businesswoman with thousands of sales and is now ready to expand her brand, Tyche + Iset, by pre-releasing her next line on Ulule.
Impact is not limited to find eco-conscious ways to consume, it’s also about helping local creators and entrepreneurs get their business off the ground! And Mindy Jovanovic is one of these mind-blowing entrepreneurs doing that. She is the founder of River City Marketplace, a community-oriented creative business that is woman-owned, fully staffed by women, and connects the Sacramento community to 900+ vendors, comprised of at least 90% women. Mindy is currently crowdfunding to be able to finance scholarships for a mentorship and business development program for female makers and entrepreneurs.
Finally, I wanted to share Ashley Hammock’s initiative: “Wopy Kidpreneur”, a program built especially for kids ages 5-17 who already have an entrepreneurial spirit and are ready to put their ideas into action. Their youngest member is at the ripe age of only two! Now that’s what you call #youthempowerment!