Husband and wife duo Michael and Shalonda Burnside say they opened Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn to teach their daughters about entrepreneurship.
As a new mom, Shalonda Burnside was struggling to reenter the workforce. Burnside had worked as a Lowe’s project coordinator and Household Depot advertising and marketing coordinator just before going into teaching and then obtaining two daughters. But she generally knew she wanted to turn into an entrepreneur.
With the support of her husband, Michael, who performs in finance in Fort Worth, the Burnsides started to consider outdoors the box and decided to start out a company primarily based on a shared passion.
“We began Lil Pop for the reason that of our really like for popcorn as a family members and a wish to teach our two daughters entrepreneurship,” Burnside mentioned. “We knew this would be the fantastic chance for us to apply our experiences from the corporate globe and start out a gourmet popcorn enterprise.”
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Husband and wife duo Michael and Shalonda Burnside say they opened Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn to teach their daughters about entrepreneurship. Shalonda Burnside
Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn specializes in handmade popcorn with a signature line such as birthday cake, cinnamon churro and cookies and cream flavors. Shoppers can also produce their personal popcorn by deciding upon a base and toppings.
Neighborhood prospects can order on the internet and get their popcorn inside two days, and the company lately started shipping across the U.S. The Burnsides also sell their treats at pop-ups in the Fort Worth region.
Now, the family members company has won the city of Fort Worth’s annual company strategy competitors. The enterprise received a grand prize of $ten,000 to assistance its company endeavors. This is also the initially time a Black-owned company has won in the competition’s 12-year history.
By way of the competitors, 20 nearby smaller firms completed six weeks of coaching and instruction in company improvement. The prime eight finalists pitched their company idea to a panel of judges and reside audience on Could 11 and submitted written plans for judge evaluation.
“Being in that atmosphere to share our highs, lows, and dreams with the group was pretty motivational and gave us the validation that we had been on the suitable path,” Burnside mentioned. “Winning the competitors has provided us the chance to pour sources into the enterprise sooner than we anticipated. We’ve observed an quick improve in interest in our enterprise which has resulted in much more sales.”
Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn specializes in handmade popcorn with a signature line such as birthday cake, cinnamon churro and cookies and cream flavors. Shalonda Burnside
Shalonda’s function as CEO and founder of the enterprise offers her the chance to balance becoming a remain-at-residence mom and developing the company. Meanwhile, husband Michael balances his complete-time finance job although serving as the business’ chief economic officer.
“Our plans are to develop the enterprise significant sufficient for each of us to perform in the company complete time inside the subsequent 5 years,” Burnside mentioned.
Saria Hawkins pitches Manifest Your Objective, a stationary enterprise that targets Black females. Rachel DeLira Fort Worth Financial Improvement Division
A $six,000 second-location prize went to Manifest Your Objective, a luxury stationery and workplace accessories company run by Saria Hawkins. Increasing up, Hawkins saw a lack of representation of Black females in the stationary market and wanted to produce stationary solutions to reflect her culture and likeness.
Manifest Your Objective specializes in luxury stationary that represents Black females. Whitney Blocker Whitney B Jordan
Hawkins sells her solutions on her site and Amazon, and attends several vendor events every year. Hawkins saw a 275% income improve through the initially year of operating her company. She has delivered much more than three,700 stationary orders to females about the globe and occasionally completes 200 orders per month.
Brian Frank’s company Knarly Vans won third location in the 2023 Fort Worth company strategy competitors. Rachel DeLira Fort Worth Financial Improvement Division
Knarly Vans, a enterprise that outfits passenger vans, won a third-location prize of $four,000. Company owner Brian Frank mentioned his company’s outfitting is ADA compliant and aids fill holes in passenger van floors when the seats are lifted for wheelchairs. The enterprise also sells insulated window covers and other solutions.
The company has sold to 11 nations, such as many in Europe exactly where van life is common. The enterprise has generated $30,000 in income and expects to produce $200,000 subsequent year if the company stays on track.
Just after every of the eight finalists presented their pitches, audience members had a likelihood to vote for their favorites.
Michelle Holloway pitches her company, Life style Transitions, which won the common vote from audience members. Rachel DeLira Fort Worth Financial Improvement Division
Life style Transitions owner Michelle Holloway won the common vote. Holloway performs residence inspections for seniors and tends to make suggestions to avoid falls and improve security. Holloway is an occupational therapist on track to get her post-skilled doctorate degree. A 60-minute session charges $290, and solutions are authorized by insurance coverage.
The remaining finalists integrated homemade candy enterprise Hallelujah! Brittles and Sweets, mental overall health agency Honeybee Wellness & Consulting, plant-primarily based foods distributor Pure Vegan Pantry and self-publishing enterprise RIPE Publishing Residence.
Seventeen of the 20 firms who participated in the 2023 competitors had been minority- or females-owned firms, the strongest diversity of Fort Worth’s company strategy competitors to date. This was also the initially time the competitors integrated representation from seven of the city’s council districts.
“It’s fascinating to see the Fort Worth Company Strategy Competitors attract a group of competitors that holistically reflects our city’s company neighborhood,” mentioned Andrea Duffie, communications specialist for the city’s financial improvement division. “That is specially accurate for minority and females-owned firms, who have historically struggled to access these sorts of sources and coaching when it comes to increasing and scaling their firms.”
Judges and audience members watched eight smaller firms pitch their company ideas on Could 11 at the city’s annual company strategy competitors. Rachel DeLira Fort Worth Financial Improvement Division
To qualify for the competitors, firms had to be two to 5 years old with an annual income of significantly less than $500,000. All of the firms had to be positioned inside Fort Worth.
The financial improvement division for the city of Fort Worth organized the competitors with sponsorship from Frost Bank. Supporting partners TechFW, HSC Innovates, Tarrant County Tiny Company Improvement Center, SCORE Fort Worth, the North Texas Entrepreneur Education and Coaching Center and AccelerateDFW Foundation contributed mentorship and coaching.