Judges Jamie Williams, Clifton Griffin and Jean Grossman.
Business concepts from food trucks and natural haircare to data science were in the spotlight as Dallas nonprofit WiNGS hosted its fourth annual Women’s Enterprise Showcase on Oct. 2, 2019 at the WiNGS Center at Ebby’s Place.
Three local women entrepreneurs pitched their concepts in a Shark Tank-style pitch competition to a panel of regional business leaders. Participants are graduates of the WiNGS Women’s Enterprise program, one of the most comprehensive for-women-only small business development programs in the Dallas community. European Wax Center sponsored the event as the Pitch Contest Investor.
The winner of the competition was Dr. Angel Durr, who pitched her plan to launch a nonprofit, “DataReady,” to help grow data literacy and data science knowledge among Dallas/Fort Worth-area K-12 students. The data science skill set offers a strong alternative to traditional vocations offered to low-income high school students. Through DataReady, Durr hopes to combat the growing student loan epidemic among young people in the U.S. and aid in breaking the cycle of poverty in underrepresented communities in North Texas. Durr refined her concept while participating in the Women’s Enterprise program at WiNGS since March 2019.
“It’s been inspirational to watch Angel develop her concept, solidify her business plan and execute her vision over six short months,” said Lucy Huang, Durr’s business advisor and Senior Director of Programs & Business Development at WiNGS. “Winning first prize in the Women’s Enterprise Showcase truly validates the quality and market viability of her concept, as well as her dedication and work ethic. She’s worked so hard, and she clearly deserves this honor!”
Dr. Durr said, “I am so very grateful for everything WiNGS has done for me as a woman, a mother and an entrepreneur. The relationship with WiNGS has been essential to me growing as a professional, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities I have been given since joining WiNGS at the beginning of the year.”
Other participants were:
- Amber Williams, Seaux Tasty Food Truck: Seaux Tasty is a new food truck concept that provides customers a taste of home, drawn from Chef Amber Williams’ Louisiana roots and her experiences mixing culture and cuisine as a native Texan. Williams has been creating Creole fusion cuisine since 2014 through her catering company, LeRouge Cuisine Food Company.
- Tah Thomas, Saint KaBa: Saint KaBa is an all-natural hair and skincare line that takes a holistic approach to an individual’s mental, spiritual, physical and emotional well-being. The company’s flagship product is Tender Head Care, which offers soothing relief for people who experience pain during and after styling, with a special focus on black individuals. As a spiritual naturalist, Thomas works with essential oils and blends them into a variety of whipped shea butters.
The contestants gave five-minute business pitches, then received constructive feedback from a panel of judges that included:
- Clifton Griffin, Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending for Independent Bank
- Jean Grossman, Chief Franchise Officer for European Wax Center
- Jamie Williams, Director of Human Resources and Regional Grants, North Texas, for the Moody Foundation
Debbie Dennis, a past WiNGS board chair, moderated the event. Dennis is Chief Customer Officer and Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Corporate Affairs, at Oncor Electric Delivery.
Through the WiNGS Women’s Enterprise program, aspiring entrepreneurs learn how to take the first steps toward entrepreneurship, complete a business plan, launch their businesses and thrive as they grow their ventures. WiNGS expects to work with 180 female entrepreneurs in the program this year.
WiNGS has been walking alongside women since 1908, constantly evolving to meet women’s changing needs. Today, WiNGS is a community of women helping women overcome poverty and take charge of their futures. Through a tailored suite of innovative services, women build confidence and skills on their path to a new life as they grow small businesses, start families or work toward financial security. Learn more by visiting www.wingsdallas.org. Stay Connected via Facebook and Instagram @WINGSDallas and Twitter @WiNGS_Dallas.