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20 diverse small businesses earn resources to grow their companies

A variety of small business owners will benefit from additional cash and resources after earning in the Bill.com Invoice2go Grow program.

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Bill.com, a leading provider of cloud-based software that simplifies, digitizes, and automates financial operations for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), announced the winners of Grow, the business development and awards program initiated by its company Invoice2go, which recognizes the untapped potential of small business owners from underrepresented communities.

Out of 31,000 applications that were sent, 20 proposals were selected to choose the winners, who will receive $200,000 in cash, to split among them, and resources to successfully grow their businesses.

The company stated:

During this Small Business Month, Bill.com is reminded of the tremendous contributions entrepreneurs make to the U.S. economy each and every day.

“By recognizing our Grow winners and their minority-led businesses, we hope to shine a light on what the future of finance should look like, helping to remove systemic and institutional barriers by providing technology resources, mentorship connections, and capital to support their company growth,” said René Lacerte, Bill.com CEO and Founder.

Distribution of Resources

Based on a weighted scale of each entrepreneur's business plan, purpose, feasibility of success, and challenges faced, the 20 winners were awarded a first-tier cash prize of $15,000, a second-tier cash prize of $10,000 or a third cash prize of $5,000 each. These winners also received a free one-year subscription to Invoice2go to further strengthen their ability to grow.

“All applicants have been given entrance to community platforms including Go Getters, Female Founders, and Creative Collective, along with business development workshops taught by renowned career coaches and content creators to expand their community building and knowledge sharing,” it is highlighted.

Requirements to Participate

To be considered for Grow, businesses had to be minority owned, operated, and controlled by at least one U.S. resident age 18 or older who identified as one or more of the following: Asian-Indian, Asia-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, Native American or Alaska Native, Arab or Middle Eastern, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+, or as a person with a disability. In addition, the business had to be less than five years old, have no more than ten employees, and have annual revenues of no more than $1 million.

This is the winners list:

1st Tier

  • Hsin Liu, M Bar of Harrison
  • Karol Rodriguez, Karol Rodriguez
  • Leah Hernandez, Young Authors Publishing
  • Robin Oloyede, Colorfull Plates™
  • Sativa Brown, Baron Long Party Rentals

2nd Tier

  • Anjali Nair, The Immigrant Academy
  • Ashley Knight-Williams, I'm Still Hungry DC
  • Demetria Sweatt, Wellness 4U
  • Derek Collins, Gifted & Lit
  • Ismael Collazo, Blind Guy Boards
  • Johnny Williams, Williams Electric
  • Kristin Christian, Chicago French Press
  • Kobe Boateng, Kobe Boateng
  • Sonya Antoinette Harris, Go Verbal Speech Language Pathology Services
  • Tara Cooper, It's Bout Time Beauty Supply

3rd Tier

  • Estephanie Mosquera Ortiz, Beaut&Beast Co.
  • Patricia Brickhouse, Ascension Ranch
  • Shana Henry, Muffhens Bakery
  • Shanika Valcour-LeDuff, Labor and Love
  • Trevon Williams and Wendy Brehm, Purple Rose Wellness

Testimonials of the Beneficiaries

“As the CEO of a Chamber of Commerce in one of the most diverse cities in the country, I am dedicated to helping all businesses thrive. I am thankful that programs like Grow can commit the time, financial support, and resources to ensure that businesses are reflective of the community they are serving,” said Rodney Fong, President and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

“Currently, less than 7% of children's books are written for Black, Latino, and Native authors combined. We are committed to using this capital to support our growing community by offering competitive royalty splits for young authors, educating authors on literacy courses, and providing publishing opportunities to underrepresented writers,” pointed out Leah Hernandez, Founder and CEO of Young Authors Publishing, a children's and young adult book publisher whose mission is to change the dialogue around accurate representation in literature by sharing the stories of Black, Brown, and Indigenous young people.

This is the panel of judges made up of prominent journalists and leaders of the SMB community:

  • Candace Waterman, President and CEO of Women Impacting Public Policy
  • Gene Marks, small business expert, keynote speaker, author and columnist at publications such as Forbes, The Guardian and The Hill
  • Ramon Ray, entrepreneur, keynote speaker and best-selling author
  • Rodney Fong, President and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
  • Stephanie Mehta, CEO and Chief Content Officer at Mansueto Ventures, parent of Inc. and Fast Company

Learn more about the Grow winners here.

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