Hy-Vee, Inc. awarded $50,000 to minority- and women-owned businesses during the Hy-Vee OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit Jan. 31 at the Scott Conference Center, located on the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Scott Campus.
During the pitch competition component of the event, 15 companies from across the Midwest presented to a panel of judges and more than 200 event attendees. Each company leader was able to demonstrate their product or explain their service for the chance to win a small-business grant from Hy-Vee. A Hy-Vee committee selected the participating companies from more than 100 applications.
Hy-Vee recognized the following during an awards presentation that followed the pitch competition:
Grand Prize Winner – $30,000
Humbl Roots, Jacquelyn Burkland, Omaha, Nebraska
Humbl Roots is a food manufacturing company whose mission is to bring people to the table and have them leave feeling good. Without compromising quality and taste, the company reinvents familiar foods in order to accommodate dietary restrictions.
Category: Food and Beverage
First place – $5,000: A+ Berry, Dr. Xiaoquing Xie, Lincoln, Nebraska
A+ Berry is a Big 10 food tech company based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that is creating innovative antioxidant drinks for health. Its first product is AroJuice, a cold-pasteurized juice made from a super fruit, the Aronia berry, which is grown in the Midwest and provides high antioxidant protection.
Category: Innovation and Technology
First place – $5,000: RESPI, Jessica Queen, Omaha, Nebraska
RESPI is developing a medical device to save lives during military operations, mass casualty events and overcrowded emergency rooms. Its StatPatch is uniquely designed for monitoring large groups of people simultaneously.
Category: Health, Wellness and Beauty
First place – $5,000: Mama’s Garden Apothecary, Newhall, Iowa
Whether it is the small batch handmade skin care, aromatherapy, loose leaf teas, soups, spices or herbal remedies, Mama’s Garden specializes in bringing comfort to peoples’ everyday lives.
Planting People Growing Justice LLC of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Angel Buck Corporation of Bunker Hill, Illinois, were also presented with smaller cash prizes for their business ventures.
In addition to the above winners, the following also participated in the pitch competition:
- Cup of Coa – Kearney, Nebraska;
- Harken Sweets – Chicagoland, Illinois;
- Sunday Night Foods – Des Moines, Iowa;
- Anchovy – Lincoln, Nebraska;
- AskSAMIE – Kansas City, Missouri;
- RC Party Accents LLC – Lincoln, Nebraska;
- Evodia Fragrances – Omaha, Nebraska;
- Jadomté Mobile Nail Bar – Omaha, Nebraska; and
- Superfood Body Shop – Omaha, Nebraska.
The event featured an expo that offered resources for small businesses, learning opportunities through presentations and panel discussions and the chance to learn about local brands.
The Hy-Vee OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit is one of several initiatives led by Hy-Vee that helps support minority- and women-owned businesses in the communities it serves. Hy-Vee is committed to inclusivity by expanding product and service offerings that appeal to diverse lifestyles and backgrounds.
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