Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of the company, and 1863 Ventures have announced the winners of the Oct. 15 HI-HERImpact Miami Pitch Competition. Five women social entrepreneurs from South Florida competed in the ‘Shark Tank’-style virtual event before a live panel of judges for $50,000 in cash prizes and in-kind support. Since 2018, Ford Fund has awarded more than $300,000 in total funding to help women-led social enterprises scale and grow in Detroit, Washington, D.C. and Miami.
The newest HI-HERImpact Miami winners are:
First Place: Anastasia Mikhalochkina, Lean Orb – Awarded $25,000 (Growth stage)
Second Place: Adrienne C. Williams, Bridge – Awarded $20,000 (Growth stage)
Third Place: Ania Rodriguez , Key Lime Interactive – Awarded $5,000 (Early stage)
“Ford Fund congratulates Anastasia Mikhalochkina, CEO, and founder of Lean Orb,” said Yisel Cabrera, Community Relations Manager for Ford Motor Company Fund. “As our country looks to recover from the devastating impacts of COVID-19, it’s essential we continue to support women-owned businesses, especially those that are helping to solve problems in their communities.”
The five finalists have businesses focused on clean food packaging, an app to remotely connect small business to local communities, a platform to help companies combat bias, and more, and they were chosen based on the following criteria: the social enterprise must exist to solve a real community problem, have a business model that will ultimately be sustainable, and focus on a product or service people will pay for. Judges included Ford Motor Company Fund’s Yisel Cabrera, angel investor Kimberly N. Marshall, and Miami Dade College Idea Center Executive Director Romi Bhatia.
“Small, women-owned enterprises make up much of the backbone of our communities across the country,” said Melissa Bradley, Managing Partner for 1863 Ventures. “Since the start of the pandemic earlier this year, we’ve been proud to hold two virtual pitch competitions to help these businesses sustain and grow despite current challenges.”
Founded by Ford Motor Company Fund and 1863 Ventures, the HI-HERImpact initiative seeks to provide women entrepreneurs with resources like educational opportunities, technical assistance, mentoring, coaching, and financial resources. The overarching mission is to help women entrepreneurs to create small businesses or startups that will also make communities better places to live.
Ford Fund leadership and Pitch Competition winners are available for interviews. Media can request interviews through Jenny Wang: [email protected] or 814-506-4597.
About HI – HERImpact
HI – HERImpact is a joint initiative between the Ford Motor Company Fund and 1863 Ventures to help women social entrepreneurs scale their enterprises in order to increase their impact and long-term sustainability. HERImpact offers educational opportunities, technical assistance, mentoring, coaching, and financial resources, and its Entrepreneurship Summits and Pitch Competitions are designed to build community and provide investment in early and growth stage companies in the region. For more information, visit https://herimpact.net/, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @herimpacthq.
About Ford Motor Company Fund
As the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund’s mission is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 50 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit www.fordfund.org or join us at @FordFund on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About 1863 Ventures
1863 Ventures accelerates new majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth by bridging entrepreneurship and racial equity. Our vision is to create $100B of new wealth and economic power for and by the new majority. Our work provides emerging entrepreneurs with access to money, markets and management training. We will achieve our vision through increased profitability, job creation and access to capital for our members.