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Here are the finalists for the next HERImpact DC pitch competition

Ten finalists in two categories, early-stage and growth-stage startups, will pitch their ventures on Sept. 11 during DC Startup Week.

The three women entrepreneurs accepting their prize at the the first HERImpact DC Social Enterprise Pitch Competition in March 2019. (Courtesy photo)

HERImpact DC is back for a second pitch competition for women social impact entrepreneurs.

The joint initiative between Ford’s philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund (Ford Fund), and 1863 Ventures, launched in November 2018 with an entrepreneurship summit. The summit was followed by the first HERImpact pitch competition on March 16, where Danya Sherman of KnoNap took first place, Arion Long of Femly took second and Fonta Gilliam of Invest Sou Sou took third.

Like its first pitch competition, applications for this second HERImpact pitch event opened up at the conclusion of another summit for women entrepreneurs in June. Ten finalists in two categories, early-stage and growth-stage startups, were chosen from a pool of applicants to pitch on Sept. 11 at Eaton DC, as part of this year’s DC Startup Week. Registration for the free event is open.


“Ford Fund is proud to continue our support of DC’s incredible female entrepreneurs and provide them with much-needed capital and coaching,” said Yisel Cabrera, community relations manager for Ford Motor Company Fund, in a press release. “We look forward to seeing the HERImpact Pitch Competition finalists present their innovative ideas to the local tech community.”

Up to three winners in either category will be selected to receive parts of a cash prize amounting to $50,000 and in-kind support.

The five early-stage finalists are:

  • Lisa Fitzpatrick from Grapevine Health
  • LaQuida Chancey from Smalltimore Homes
  • Catherine Nguyen from Wild Willett Food
  • Charlene Fadirepo from Smart Choice Nation
  • Tambra Stevenson from Nativ Sol

The five growth-stage finalists are:

  • Shana Greenbaum from Healthy Fresh Meals
  • Lina Zdruli from Dafero
  • Qyana Stewart from Global Force Tech
  • Stephanie Cummings from Please Assist Me
  • Shola Farber from Tuesday Company
Projects: DC Startup Week

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