Husband and spouse duo Michael and Shalonda Burnside say they opened Lil Pop Connoisseur Popcorn to show their daughters about entrepreneurship.
As a brand new mother, Shalonda Burnside was struggling to reenter the workforce. Burnside had labored as a Lowe’s mission coordinator and House Depot advertising coordinator earlier than going into educating after which having two daughters. However she at all times knew she needed to develop into an entrepreneur.
With the assistance of her husband, Michael, who works in finance in Fort Price, the Burnsides started to assume outdoors the field and determined to begin a enterprise primarily based on a shared ardour.
“We began Lil Pop due to our love for popcorn as a household and a need to show our two daughters entrepreneurship,” Burnside mentioned. “We knew this may be the proper alternative for us to use our experiences from the company world and begin a gourmand popcorn firm.”
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Husband and spouse duo Michael and Shalonda Burnside say they opened Lil Pop Connoisseur Popcorn to show their daughters about entrepreneurship. Shalonda Burnside
Lil Pop Connoisseur Popcorn makes a speciality of handmade popcorn with a signature line together with birthday cake, cinnamon churro and cookies and cream flavors. Prospects also can create their very own popcorn by selecting a base and toppings.
Native clients can order on-line and obtain their popcorn inside two days, and the enterprise just lately started delivery throughout the U.S. The Burnsides additionally promote their treats at pop-ups within the Fort Price space.
Now, the household enterprise has gained the town of Fort Price’s annual marketing strategy competitors. The corporate acquired a grand prize of $10,000 to assist its enterprise endeavors. That is additionally the primary time a Black-owned enterprise has gained within the competitors’s 12-year historical past.
By way of the competitors, 20 native small companies accomplished six weeks of teaching and coaching in enterprise growth. The highest eight finalists pitched their enterprise idea to a panel of judges and dwell viewers on Could 11 and submitted written plans for choose analysis.
“Being in that setting to share our highs, lows, and goals with the group was very motivational and gave us the validation that we have been on the correct path,” Burnside mentioned. “Successful the competitors has given us the chance to pour assets into the corporate earlier than we anticipated. We’ve seen an instantaneous improve in curiosity in our firm which has resulted in additional gross sales.”
Lil Pop Connoisseur Popcorn makes a speciality of handmade popcorn with a signature line together with birthday cake, cinnamon churro and cookies and cream flavors. Shalonda Burnside
Shalonda’s position as CEO and founding father of the corporate offers her the chance to stability being a stay-at-home mother and constructing the enterprise. In the meantime, husband Michael balances his full-time finance job whereas serving because the enterprise’ chief monetary officer.
“Our plans are to develop the corporate giant sufficient for each of us to work within the enterprise full time inside the subsequent 5 years,” Burnside mentioned.
Saria Hawkins pitches Manifest Your Objective, a stationary firm that targets Black ladies. Rachel DeLira Fort Price Financial Growth Division
A $6,000 second-place prize went to Manifest Your Objective, a luxurious stationery and workplace equipment enterprise run by Saria Hawkins. Rising up, Hawkins noticed a scarcity of illustration of Black ladies within the stationary trade and needed to create stationary merchandise to mirror her tradition and likeness.
Manifest Your Objective makes a speciality of luxurious stationary that represents Black ladies. Whitney Blocker Whitney B Jordan
Hawkins sells her merchandise on her web site and Amazon, and attends a number of vendor occasions annually. Hawkins noticed a 275% income improve in the course of the first yr of operating her enterprise. She has delivered greater than 3,700 stationary orders to ladies world wide and generally completes 200 orders per 30 days.
Brian Frank’s enterprise Knarly Vans gained third place within the 2023 Fort Price marketing strategy competitors. Rachel DeLira Fort Price Financial Growth Division
Knarly Vans, an organization that outfits passenger vans, gained a third-place prize of $4,000. Enterprise proprietor Brian Frank mentioned his firm’s outfitting is ADA compliant and helps fill holes in passenger van flooring when the seats are lifted for wheelchairs. The corporate additionally sells insulated window covers and different merchandise.
The enterprise has offered to 11 nations, together with a number of in Europe the place van life is standard. The corporate has generated $30,000 in income and expects to generate $200,000 subsequent yr if the enterprise stays on observe.
After every of the eight finalists introduced their pitches, viewers members had an opportunity to vote for his or her favorites.
Michelle Holloway pitches her enterprise, Way of life Transitions, which gained the favored vote from viewers members. Rachel DeLira Fort Price Financial Growth Division
Way of life Transitions proprietor Michelle Holloway gained the favored vote. Holloway performs house inspections for seniors and makes suggestions to stop falls and improve security. Holloway is an occupational therapist on observe to obtain her post-professional doctorate diploma. A 60-minute session prices $290, and companies are accredited by insurance coverage.
The remaining finalists included selfmade sweet firm Hallelujah! Brittles and Sweets, psychological well being company Honeybee Wellness & Consulting, plant-based meals distributor Pure Vegan Pantry and self-publishing firm RIPE Publishing Home.
Seventeen of the 20 companies who participated within the 2023 competitors have been minority- or women-owned companies, the strongest variety of Fort Price’s marketing strategy competitors up to now. This was additionally the primary time the competitors included illustration from seven of the town’s council districts.
“It’s thrilling to see the Fort Price Enterprise Plan Competitors entice a gaggle of opponents that holistically displays our metropolis’s enterprise neighborhood,” mentioned Andrea Duffie, communications specialist for the town’s financial growth division. “That’s very true for minority and women-owned companies, who’ve traditionally struggled to entry these sorts of assets and training in relation to rising and scaling their corporations.”
Judges and viewers members watched eight small companies pitch their enterprise ideas on Could 11 on the metropolis’s annual marketing strategy competitors. Rachel DeLira Fort Price Financial Growth Division
To qualify for the competitors, companies needed to be two to 5 years previous with an annual income of lower than $500,000. The entire companies needed to be positioned inside Fort Price.
The financial growth division for the town of Fort Price organized the competitors with sponsorship from Frost Financial institution. Supporting companions TechFW, HSC Innovates, Tarrant County Small Enterprise Growth Heart, SCORE Fort Price, the North Texas Entrepreneur Training and Coaching Heart and AccelerateDFW Basis contributed mentorship and training.