Today, I will be interviewing the founder of Solo's Food, Diamonique Lundy, An MSU Pitch Contest Winner, serial entrepreneur in the making and recently an WBENC-Cummins Grant Winner.
Interview with Solo’s Food Founder, Diamonique:
K:Good evening, Diamonique. How are you doing this evening?
D: Good. I've spoken to a man from Feliciano Center and some people from Red Hawk News. They are working on a feature for Solo's Food some time in January.
K: Did anything else out of the ordinary happen to or around you today?
D:No, It was an ordinary day
K: Alright, Let's get to it. This will be a quick 5 minute interview, 10 minutes tops. Are you ready?
D: Yes, I’m ready if you are.
K: How did you hear about WBENC-Cummins Grant?
D: It was really cool. This man who turned out to be the partnership director, Andrew G. He reached out to me on LinkedIn. Our company is giving out grants to black women founders would you be interested in? I said heck yes in your head but in reality replied with a simple and polite “yes”.
K: Tell Me More About Your Experience with the WBENC-Cummins Grant Application Process? Were there any specific issues you faced in the application process?
D: It was pretty straight forward. I applied around 1 month ago so I can’t remember the specific questions asked in the application process however the questions were straight forward. A very big part of the reason our company may have received the grant is that Solo’s Food is both socially and environmentally sustainable. In Cummins Inc, Their mission or emphasis is on producing green power and reducing greenhouse emissions so they look for that in the companies applying for the grant.
K: What is your recommendation to other recently established Black Female Entrepreneurs out there that are struggling to establish gathering adequate funding during the Pandemic winter? Or in general?
D: I feel like that's something that's being addressed right now. We still have a long way to go but I think there are companies and I am an example of it. We are living in this post-George Floyd time, people are hyper aware and my advice is to google search grants for black women.
I know it sounds very simplistic but you'll never know what you'll find. Also, network with what you have like family, friends, co-workers, church, and other organizations and sell your product out your inner circle. My final piece of advice here is Word of Mouth is always the most effective method to building a business but a well placed ad or digital marketing campaign in social media works too.
K: What are you going to do with the funding from the WBENC-Cummins grant?
D: Speaking of advertising, I will be using the grants to push our digital marketing campaign during the pandemic winter because people aren't doing much and they are on their device more than normal. In short, It is a perfect time to promote our existing products and services in time for the Holidays.
K: Is there anything else that you want to say about the WBENC-Cummins partnership?
D: I would just say that one, I'm very grateful to both companies, and I want to speak to the Black women at this time: We are at a paradigm shift so companies are funding social justice causes so look for business pitch contests and various grants for african-american entrepreneurs. These opportunities represent free funding for your business venture in whatever industry you are operating within.
K: Well, it has been a blast talking to you and thank you for your time, Diamonique. Please take care.
D: Alright, you as well. Bye-bye.
The WBENC-Cummins Grant for Black Student Female Founders is a grant awarded by both the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Cummins Inc. This grant awards $6,000 in funding for 12 student entrepreneurs to reinvest in their business. According to statistics form WBENC Cummins grant, “Black Women are starting business faster than any other segment - in 2019, 1,625 new businesses were started by women of color every single day. Despite this, these businesses experience greater difficulties in securing access to capital and receiving funding to grow their businesses.” More importantly, The pandemic really impacts the growth and continued survival of black-owned businesses(p.2,5) like Solo’s Food LLC.
The Nice folks at both organizations formed a grant to support Black Female Student Entrepreneurs who see great opportunities in the midst of a modern calamity.
Solo’s Food LLC has been selected for the WBENC Cummins Grant for Black Student Female Founders! This investment will help Solo's Food improve it's digital marketing campaign and reach in order to generate more awareness in the community.
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Meet the other grantees: https://www.wbenc.org/cummins-grant
If you are a Black Female Entrepreneur in school during 2021, keep your eyes open for the 2021 WBENC-Cummins grants. You can follow it here at https://www.wbenc.org/.
Remember to be COVID-negative! Keep your mask up, Social distance when appropriate and wash wash wash those hands.