LISC National

Pitch-perfect businesses

Local start-up firms compete for cash prizes at LISC event.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation Boston hosted their third annual pitch contest for early-stage startups owned by women and minority entrepreneurs last week in Dorchester, awarding up to $12,500 in cash prizes sponsored by Citizens Bank.

The first-place prize of $7,500 went to Zainab Sumu Primitive Modern, a local fashion business owned by Zainab Sumu and nominated by the Center for Women and Enterprise. The second-place prize of $2,500 was awarded to Sanaa With Friends, owned by Victoria Downes and Taneekah Johnson and nominated by The Urban Labs; and the remaining $2,500 was awarded to Express Cuts 10.18, founded by Marcelous T. Atmore and nominated by the Fairmount Innovation Lab.

The other two contestants who pitched their businesses to a panel of judges and an auditorium full of people were food startup Vita Pura, founded by Vanessa Vajara and nominated by Commonwealth Kitchen; as well as software solutions business Langston Corporation, founded by Adam Taylor and nominated by Smarter in the City.

The panel of judges were: Lakshmi Balachandra, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College; Rica Elysee, CEO of BeautyLynk; Biplaw Rai, co-owner of Dudley Cafe; and Glynn Lloyd, executive director of Eastern Bank’s Foundation for Business Equity.

Click here for the full article on the Bay State Banner, written by Karen Morales

“Our goal is to supercharge our ecosystem for women and people of color,”
— Karen Kelleher, LISC Executive Director