UPDATE: Two Minnesota companies were among the winners of Meda’s fourth annual Million Dollar Challenge, the nation’s largest minority entrepreneur competition.
These were HercLéon, a company specializing in making clothes and bed sheets from materials that actively stop and kill bacteria growth, and Seraph 7 Studios, a video game developer focused on creating change. for communities of color. The two companies received funding of $ 200,000.
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“We have had an incredible number of remarkable companies participating in the Meda Million Dollar Challenge this year, leaving us all impressed and inspired,” said Alfredo Martel, CEO of Meda, in a statement. “As we continue to navigate beyond the pandemic into the new economy, the innovation and dedication of these entrepreneurs gives me hope for the impact they will have on the economy and their community.”
The other contest winners were Bon AppeSweet, which took home the top prize of $ 350,000, Slick Chick, which was the second prize of $ 250,000, and FitnesCity, which took home $ 200,000.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A dozen entrepreneurs qualified for the final of the largest competition for minority entrepreneurs in the country.
The Million Dollar Challenge is a Shark Tank style competition for businesses of color. This is the fourth year that the Metropolitan Economic Development Agency (MEDA) has organized the event.
This year, four of the finalists are from Minnesota, including Wenceslaus Muenyi. More than 200 entrepreneurs applied for the competition.
Muenyi is the founder of HercLèon, a company specializing in manufacturing clothing and bed sheets from materials that actively stop and kill the growth of bacteria.
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“We design things for each group of people according to their body and their needs,” Muenyi said. “I started to wonder why my clothes smell bad? Why does something smell bad? From this question, I started to study biology and microbiology, human biology, textile and its functionalities and how they work.
Muenyi, along with the rest of the finalists, were at the Hilton hotel in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday morning to make their final presentation to the judges.
Uri Camarena, business consultant at MEDA, said their mission is to help ethnic entrepreneurs succeed. He said a runner-up could get up to a million dollars. If several entrepreneurs are chosen, the investments will be divided.
Camarena said the challenge isn’t just about donating money, it’s about leveling the playing field for businesses of color.
“Only 3% of the country’s companies that are financed are BIPOC companies. This is an area that we would like to be a part of and help, ”Camarena said.
He added that many ethnic entrepreneurs do not have the resources to secure financing. In the last three years of the Million Dollar Challenge, 18 BIPOC companies from across the country have received financial awards, totaling $ 3.8 million.
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You can find the winner on Tuesday evening on the MEDA website.