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A Hy-Vee committee selected the participating companies from more than 100 applications.

Hy-Vee awards $50K in grants to Midwest-based minority- and women-owned businesses

The grand prize winner, Humbl Roots, manufactures alternative foods to accommodate dietary restrictions

Hy-Vee has awarded $50,000 to minority- and women-owned Midwest-based businesses during a recent business summit at the Scott Conference Center, located on the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Scott Campus in Omaha. 

During the pitch competition component of the event, 15 companies from across the Midwest presented to a panel of judges and more than 200 event attendees. Each company leader was able to demonstrate their product or explain their service for the chance to win a small-business grant from Hy-Vee. A Hy-Vee committee selected the participating companies from more than 100 applications.

Hy-Vee recognized the following during an awards presentation that followed the pitch competition: 

Grand Prize Winner - $30,000: Humbl Roots, Jacquelyn Burkland, Omaha, Neb. 
About: Humbl Roots is a food manufacturing company which focuses on accommodating dietary restrictions.

1st place - $5,000: A+ Berry, Dr. Xiaoquing Xie, Lincoln, Neb.
About: A+ Berry is a Big 10 food tech company based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln creating antioxidant drinks for health. Their first product is AroJuice, a cold-pasteurized and delicious juice made from a super fruit, the Aronia berry, grown in the Midwest.
Category: Food & Beverage

1st place - $5,000: RESPI, Jessica Queen, Omaha, Neb.
About: RESPI is developing a medical device to save lives during military operations, mass casualty events, and overcrowded emergency rooms. StatPatch is uniquely designed for monitoring large groups of people simultaneously.
Category: Innovation & Technology

1st place - $5,000: Mama’s Garden Apothecary, Newhall, Iowa
About: In its most simple form, Mama’s Garden Apothecary is comfort. Whether it is the small batch handmade skin care, aromatherapy, loose leaf teas, soups, spices or herbal remedies, Mama’s Garden specializes in bringing peace and comfort to peoples’ everyday lives.
Category: Health, Wellness & Beauty 

Planting People Growing Justice, LLC (St. Paul, Minn.) and Angel Buck Corporation (Bunker Hill, Ill.) were also presented with smaller cash prizes for their business ventures.

In addition to the above winners, the following also participated in the pitch competition: 

  • Cup of Coa, Kearney, Neb.
  • Harken Sweets, Chicagoland, Ill.
  • Sunday Night Foods, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Anchovy, Lincoln, Neb. 
  • AskSAMIE, Kansas City, Mo.
  • RC Party Accents, LLC, Lincoln, Neb. 
  • Evodia Fragrances, Omaha, Neb.
  • Jadomté Mobile Nail Bar, Omaha, Neb.
  • Superfood Body Shop, Omaha, Neb. 

The event also featured an expo that offered resources for small businesses, learning opportunities through presentations and panel discussions, the chance to learn about local brands, and other opportunities.

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