Enterprise Center hosts pitch challenge for minority-owned businesses

Media Outlet


Kiara Santos

Ten minority-owned business finalists vied Thursday at the Enterprise Center for a chance to win $250,000 in the center’s inaugural Visionary Pitch Competition.

The 10 finalists out of 547 applicants hoped to win the grand prize in the Shark Tank-esque competition, where they pitched their companies in front of a panel of judges.

The winner was hair wig company Renatural, led by founder and CEO Aasiyah Abdulsalam. Abdulsalam also won an office space, business acceleration resources, valuation services, and professional assistance in crafting a compelling pitch and refining presentation skills.

The finalists were also addressed by Mayor Cherelle Parker, who promoted the entrepreneurial spirit.

“Competition, to me, it breeds innovation,” Parker said.

“You have to figure out how you do more with less and you dig extremely deep to be as innovative and creative as you possibly can to do whatever it is that you want to do with your business,” she said.

“I think competition brings out the best in individuals and in groups. We use economic opportunity to put Philadelphians to work to clean and green our city and that makes good economic sense because we build in a pipeline for workforce development.”

The other finalists were:

  • BioLattice Opthalmics, Inc.
  • ECGO
  • Happi Hippo Plant Organics, LLC
  • Highnote, Inc.
  • J&J Educational Bootcamp
  • MineMe
  • Modi
  • Tempo Inc.
  • Varlo

The Enterprise Center partnered with Dell Technologies, Dell for Startups, URBN, Troutman Pepper and Morgan Lewis to launch the Visionary Pitch Competition in 2023 as a nationwide search aimed at entrepreneurial diversity and inclusion in industry.

“This world is waiting for your brilliance. The visionary pitch is just the beginning,” said Rashaad Lambert, founder of minority-aimed business accelerator organization For(bes) the Culture and keynote speaker of the event.

“Use this platform to amplify your voice. Showcase your innovation and inspire others. Together we can create a future where diverse entrepreneurs are not the exception but the norm.”

The pitches featured solutions to corneal blindness, attempts to mitigate pollution based on geographic location, and creation of fun state assessment-level education for children through games that are viable and affordable for school districts.

Abdulsalam accepted her prize alongside Della Clarke, president and CEO of the Enterprise Center. Abdulsalam also received a laptop complements of Dell.

The center plans to hold a second competition next year.

“I moved to the U.S. a year ago. I’m mind-blown at the opportunities that the states have,” Abdulsalam said.