Women-Owned Business Pitch Competition giving more climate-focused awards  

Carver Federal Savings Bank
From left: Lloyd Doaman, executive director of the Carver Community Development Corporation; competition winners Princess Jenkins and Diane Da Costa; and Michael Pugh, president and CEO of Carver Federal Savings Bank.
Photo courtesy Carver Federal Savings Bank

Applications for the 2023 Minority Women-Owned Business Pitch Competition, launched by Carver Federal Savings Bank, in partnership with The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce (GHCC), are now open.

The pitch competition was designed in response to climate change and the disproportionate negative impact on communities of color. The applications are open to women aged 18 or older, whose businesses are in the Greater New York Area. This year’s contest doubles not only the number of winners but also the size of the prizes, with four minority women business owners set to receive grant awards of $10,000 each.

The bank is certified as a designated Minority Depository Institution (MDI) and certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). It is celebrating 75 years of service to the community, and it’s one of the largest African American and Caribbean American managed banks in the country.

Lloyd Doaman, the executive director of the bank’s Community Development Corporation, shared the biggest success thus far in running the corporation has been the two winners from last year’s competition.

Both women have shared their experience and success winning and implementing their plans for the grant funds to reduce their carbon footprint and truly represent the reason why we created this program. The Minority Women-Owned Business Pitch Competition is an example of how we support small businesses and impact the community in a positive way,” he said.

In last year’s competition, the two winners were Princess Jenkins, founder of The Brownstone, and Diane Da Costa, CEO and founder of SimpleeBEAUTIFUL.

The Brownstone works with women from all walks of life, women who want to polish and perfect their image, while reflecting their personal authentic style. In a world where image is everything, The Brownstone leaves nothing to chance and has built a reputation of entrepreneurial excellence.

Jenkins states, “We are giving our clients what they want; contemporary fashion and unique styles in a warm and friendly environment.”

Da Costa owns the first clean lifestyle brand with an eco-friendly retail boutique; and the CurlyTexturedBAR, a curly consult bar and texture hair care salon located in Harlem, NYC. She is the former owner of Dyaspora Salon Spa in New York City, the first leading multi-textured Aveda Concept salon founded in the late 90s to early 2000s.

In addition, Doaman stated that some of the challenges in the business industry “include the negative effects of climate change in communities of color, high interest rates, high inflation, a tight labor market, systemic barriers to affordable access to capital, and the wealth gap.”

The competition winners can use the grants towards the purchase of equipment, technology, or operational systems to support energy efficiency and improvements. In addition to the grant award, winners of the competition will have access to a member of the Carver Executive Team, The Chamber Executive Team, and resources from the sponsor Mastercard.

“The long-term goal is to help businesses transition their enterprises towards greater sustainability through energy efficiency efforts, improve profitability and wealth generation, and positively impact communities of color by reducing the carbon footprint,” Doaman continued.

Furthermore, Doaman shared how the bank stays true to its mission of providing affordable access to capital and banking services to minority and women-owned businesses and consumers across the Greater NYC area.

“As a certified CDFI, we are only required to reinvest 60 cents of every dollar in deposits back into the community. At Carver, we have exceeded that requirement and reinvest over 80 cents of every dollar in deposits back into the community which has earned the bank consecutive Outstanding rating for our Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) efforts,” stated Doaman.

“We will continue to work diligently to provide resources for minority and women-owned businesses to support growth, sustainability, and resiliency,” he added.

Find more information on The Brownstone here: https://thebrownstonewoman.com/. Find more information on Simplee Beautiful here: https://www.simpleebeautiful.com/.

The application period ends Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. ET. Applications will be judged by Carver’s senior staff in partnership with The Chamber’s staff and additional lead sponsors. Winners will be announced in October and awarded their $10,000 grants in November.

Those who are interested in learning more about the program should visit www.carverbank.com/Competition or email [email protected] for more details.