Dauphin County Commissioners Host Minority Entrepreneurs for “Shark Tank” Pitches, Award Winners $5,000 Prize to Grow Businesses

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The Dauphin County Commissioners recognized three winners of the Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Lab – a program for which the commissioners partnered with M&T Bank and Harrisburg University to increase opportunities for minority and female entrepreneurs.

The commissioners gave a combined $5,000 to the three entrepreneurs who were selected as winners of a “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition at the conclusion of the six-week course for new entrepreneurs.

At Wednesday’s Dauphin County Commissioners’ meeting, the winners were asked to provide one-minute pitches of their businesses.

“This region produces some of the best talent in the country, and we need to make sure Black and Brown entrepreneurs have opportunities,” Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III said.

First-place winner Joy Boudreau said Joy of Events LLC is a wedding/event planning business for women of color, something that is lacking in the area.

Second-place winner Tomisheri Tilman said Mind, Body and Rest is a bridge to wellness and support for women dealing with trauma.

Third-place winner Kyiana Gooding said Klawed by Kitty is so much more than a nail salon, also offering a classroom space.

“Small businesses were really hit hard during the pandemic, so we thank M&T Bank and Harrisburg University for stepping up to provide a vital program,” Commissioner Chair Mike Pries said.

Commissioner Chad Saylor said: “This program lets minority entrepreneurs know that resources are available for help and support. What a fantastic program.”

M&T Bank and Harrisburg University officials said the program will continue.

“When people of diverse racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds take the risk of starting a business and pursuing a dream, we need to be there and support their success,” said David Femi, head of M&T Bank’s Multicultural Banking & Diverse Market Strategy. “These multicultural businesses, when guided and supported, can make a difference in people’s lives and uplift our communities.”

Jay Jayamohan, Executive Director of New Ventures with Harrisburg University, credited the great partners and collaboration in creating a program to “provide resources, equity, and access.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett Hambright, Press Secretary, 717-780-6311; bhambright@dauphinc.org.