LOS ANGELES, March 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation celebrated Black History Month by honoring three local leaders and a Black-owned business competition for startups and small businesses.

VSEDC honored Sharon Coleman, CEO of Coleman Construction and President of the Southern California Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors, Robert Lewis, Chair and President of BCIF – the Black Cooperative Investment Fund, and the Honorable Sydney K. Kamlager, a California State Senator representing the 30th Senate District.

Chosen from a field of 60 applicants, six finalists pitched their businesses to a panel of judges and an audience of lenders and other small businesses. Finalists were scored by traditional and non-traditional lenders which included representatives from Wells Fargo, Union Bank, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Comerica, LISC and the Black Cooperative Investment Fund. 

First, second, and third place winners received $1,500, $1,000 and $500, respectively. The Audience Choice Award winner also walked away with an additional $500.

Among the startups, Eben Rey, representing NEIO Systems’ The Array, proposed a county-wide emergency system connected to public LED screens, won first prize and the Audience Choice Award. Talia Boone of Postal Petals, a DIY flower arranging company that sources with local growers, won second prize, and Lawrencia Blount of Lawrencia Bridal Couture, a bridal fashion boutique studio, came in third.

Among the small businesses first prize went to Enjunaya Canton who pitched Zuhuri Beauty, an all-natural organic beauty products line. Second prize went to Trevor Hoover, who pitched his chicken wings restaurant with his grandma’s hot sauce recipe, Wingopolis. Nickeya Hannah came in third with Hygiene First, a vending machine company stocked with hygiene products.

Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC) is a community-based nonprofit and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) recognized for decades of technical and entrepreneurial assistance to South LA small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs. The service VSEDC provides serves to drive community self-sufficiency, facilitate business growth, access to affordable housing, goods and services, and job creation. VSEDC achieves this through youth education and entrepreneurial projects, CDFI programs, and fundraising efforts. Find out more about VSEDC at www.vsedc.org, Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation

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