American Entrepreneurship Award in the Bronx 2017 Winners Announced

American Entrepreneurship Award in the Bronx 2017 Winners Announced

July 15, 2017 – The American Entrepreneurship Award (AEA), a program created to support start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, has announced the winners of its second annual contest. The award focuses on traditionally under-resourced communities in the United States and this year operated exclusively in the Bronx, New York, and Miami-Dade County, Florida. The AEA’s founding sponsors, the Libra Group, had originally pledged a prize of $125,000 in business start-up funding to be split among the award regions. The quality of entrants was, however, so high that Libra raised prize funding to a total of $250,000 with multiple award winners being declared in each region. Winners will also receive mentorship and a range of business support services.

The panel of judges selected winners from hundreds of entrants on the basis of business plans that exhibited sustainability, financial prudence and innovation, while accruing revenue and creating jobs predominantly in the Bronx, New York, or Miami-Dade County, Florida. Entries were accepted from individuals or groups with no previous business experience, or from existing companies with an all-new business idea that was not related to their core activities.

The AEA was launched in October 2015 with an initial commitment from the Libra Group, a privately owned diversified business group with 30 subsidiaries active across six continents. The winners’ trophies for the Bronx were presented at a ceremony at The Bronx Museum of the Arts on June 29, 2017.

Winning companies in The Bronx are:

  1. Duro UAS – manufactures marine drone systems, sensors, and components for a variety of ocean economy needs, including maritime inspection, environmental research, and many other applications.
  2. NoLogo Backpacks –offers students, street cyclists and pedestrians a new alignment between fashion and technology: what is known as wearable technology.
  3. Re-Nuble – uses a capital light, patent pending process to transform organic waste into more affordable value-added products that make food and plants more productive for the agriculture industry.
  4. Spadét – uses a 19th century process to manufacture pure, safe and sustainable products for the skin, body and hair using locally sourced extra virgin olive oil, and converting it into pure and hypoallergenic soaps, shampoos and creams.
  5. Sustainable Snacks – a Bronx-based natural foods company committed to promoting public health through better snacking. They craft snacks with bold flavors and unique textures from 100% plant-based ingredients.  Their flagship line of Morsels are gluten-free, vegan and paleo-friendly dark chocolate clusters packed with plant-based protein, Omega-3s and fiber.

In addition to the $25,000 in funding, which comes in the form of an interest-free loan, each winner will receive business support spanning legal, accounting, communications and IT consultancy services. They will also be assigned a mentor who will provide advice and guidance throughout every stage of their business start-up.

Commenting on the winners, Christopher Upperman, CEO of the American Entrepreneurship Award (AEA) stated: “We’re proud of our final award ceremony winners from the Bronx. Each of these businesses remind us of the importance in continuing to work on their behalf. Having spoken with each winner and hearing their inspiring entrepreneurial journey I’m reminded why more emphasis should be placed on communities such as the Bronx. There are eager business owners and those with aspirations to become successful business owners in communities very similar to the Bronx all throughout the United States who will take advantage of continued support and additional resources, if offered; I want others to join in! I commend each of the finalists, and certainly the winners, for their commitment to serving the Bronx and building successful businesses in the process.”

Other finalists in the 2017 award were:

  1. Amber Poitier – a contemporary leather accessories company that speaks to the sophisticated and creative individuals. The company creates sculptural laser cut leather jewelry and accessories in fun colors, for the artist in you.
  2. JustJazzy Cakes 212 – a woman-owned family business that provides high quality, freshly baked goods for all occasions.
  3. Lena Mae’s Gourmet – a secret candy shop for adults. They create handmade desserts and lollipops, infused with natural teas, fruits, and spirits. Services include catering management, cocktail bartending, and edible sweets.
  4. Mott Haven on the Go – a Food Truck concept that will offer customers in the HUB/3rd Avenue a variety of healthy and organic food choices low in fat, sugar and salt. Mott Haven on the Go will stand out as a healthy lifestyle brand on wheels, which will leverage the famous Mott Haven Bar and Grill brand.
  5. Sol Cacao – an artisan “bean to bar” chocolate manufacturer that crafts premium chocolates out of Port Morris in the Bronx. Founded by three brothers, Dominic, Nicholas and Daniel, the company offers three chocolate bars that are made only from two simple ingredients: cacao beans and raw cane sugar.