Announcing the Winners of the 2023 New Voices Pitch Competition sponsored by AARP!

 In News & Updates

Five 40+ year-old Women of Color Entrepreneurs Pitched for and Won $5,000-$25,000 Grants + Business Coaching during the Bayou Classic 2023

November 28, 2023 – New Orleans, LA  — The New Voices Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the New Voices 2023 Pitch Competition sponsored by AARP.  Five women of color entrepreneurs pitched at the Business at Bayou Classic at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans on Friday, November 24th at 1:00 pm CT.  Finalists competed to win one of five available grants – $25,0000, $20,000, $15,000, $10,000, and $5,000 – combined with personalized business skill development, coaching, and mentoring provided by New Voices.

Since July 2018, the foundation has held pitch competitions throughout the nation providing over $2,600,000 in non-dilutive capital and over $500,000 of support services to the winners. 

“New Voices advances economic equity by closing gaps in access to financial capital, revenue, entrepreneurial education, and social capital.  With the aim of disrupting the status quo in wealth generation,  our diverse and growing ecosystem is continuously supporting and positively impacting the sustainability of women of color-owned businesses,” said Richelyna Hall, Chief Impact Officer of New Voices Foundation.

The Foundation was delighted to partner with AARP to support these growing women of color-owned companies and their 40+ year-old founders through the New Voices 2023 Pitch Competition sponsored by AARP at the Business at Bayou Classic in New Orleans.

The winners and their businesses represent a variety of industries, including beauty, technology, wellness, and education.

The winners are:

  • $25,000: Bianca Jackson of BrickRose Exchange; a technology company that designs digital world experiences using custom avatars for employee engagement. 
  • $20,000: Jamila Powell of Naturally Drenched; a specialized luxury hair product line that prioritizes the well-being of all hair types, particularly textured hair.
  • $15,000: Dr. Qiana O’Leary of Minty Educational Services; a one-of-a-kind minority-owned educational consultant firm that offers diversity, equity, and inclusive professional training for educators to become consciously aware and equipped to develop culturally responsive school communities
  • $10,000: Lianne Dobson of Gemini Naturals; a hair color company providing non-toxic alternatives to traditional dyes for women of color with textured hair.
  • $5,000: Talia Boone of Postal Petals®; an innovative floral wellness startup that meets the growing self-care needs of consumers and businesses through fresh-cut flowers and DIY flower arranging.

About New Voices Foundation

New Voices Foundation is a ground-breaking, community-building effort designed to build a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem for women of color to advance their significant contributions to our economy and society. Driven by its PACE (Purpose.Access.Capital.Expertise.) model, New Voices offers its community of 25,000 women of color entrepreneurs access to capital, leadership development, skill-building, and networking opportunities via entrepreneurial summits, accelerators, bootcamps, pitch competitions, mentoring and coaching, and more.

About AARP 

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability, and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP recognizes there are disparities that inhibit the full realization of AARP’s vision, purpose, social mission and, as people age, as a structural impediment to longer, healthier, and more productive lives.  Therefore, it is our goal to reduce wealth and income gaps by race and other socioeconomic factors by expanding minority entrepreneur access to greater capital, business expertise, and networks. Visit AARP’s website to learn more and to access their Small Business Resources. For news you can use, please subscribe to the AARP Small Business Newsletter.