Jacksonville, Fla.-based Swisher awarded three entrepreneurs funding to support the development and growth of their businesses.
In partnership with the University of North Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), the Swisher Startup for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs heard from ten startups that were part of the program’s first cohort. The top three winners received $2500, $1500 and $1000, respectively.
The winners are:
First place: GaAIS LLC – Guenevere Perry’s biotech company has developed an eco-friendly, effective, and economical bio-fungicide for small farmers and home gardeners in Florida.
Second place: Kic Brush – Markin Barnes’ company provides care services and developed a product designed to help eliminate the spread of diseases and viruses from person to person. The product also allows proper sanitation of tools used by industry specialists.
Third place: BudJet Vest – Monalisa McKinney-Young has created a travel vest that allows the user to wear their luggage while traveling by air.
The program will continue this fall with the Swisher Growth Cohort, and the ten startups that were part of the first program have been invited to attend the next phase. Participants in the Growth Cohort will be given the opportunity to build a financial model for their business and a company message map.
“Swisher’s Inclusion, Diversity and Transformation strategy is designed to build sustainable plans to better the community,” said Alexandria Deal, Swisher’s Manager of Inclusion, Diversity & Transformation. “It was an honor to collaborate with UNF and build upon its commitment to early stage companies and entrepreneurs in Northeast Florida,” Deal added.
Swisher joined forces with the UNF CEI to bring the region a unique, no-cost start-up program for underrepresented entrepreneurs. The program helped individuals learn the basics of creating a business through interactive virtual sessions with faculty from the Coggin College of Business, engagement with mentors, and introductions to community resources.
More information on CEI and the Swisher startup for underrepresented entrepreneurs pitch competition can be found at www.unf.edu/coggin/CEI/
Swisher is an international leading lifestyle company for adult consumers. Best known for their Swisher Sweet Cigars, the company is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Swisher also has a global manufacturing presence in Santiago, Dominican Republic; Esteli, Nicaragua and Wheeling, West Virginia. Swisher’s superior customer relationships matched with an unwavering commitment to innovative thinking and action have driven the company to grow and adapt to the evolving preferences of adult consumers for nearly 160 years.