Congratulations to the winners of the first-ever GetSetUp Startup Accelerator Program! We've been following these entrepreneurs for the past 12 weeks as they honed their entrepreneurial skills by creating business plans, developing marketing strategies, and using new technology.
A total of 18 of the startup accelerator participants completed the entire course and put their skills to the test on Demo Day by presenting their business ideas to a three-person jury of prominent business leaders and community audience members. Participants were judged based on the clarity of their business description, their market analysis, creativity, and how they planned to use their funding. Each one competed for a chance to win funding to help their venture grow.
The competition was stiff. While we initially imagined offering up to $10,000 dollars to two participants, we realized that many of our startups were asking for smaller funding to get started and we could support even more growing businesses.
Five participants’ hard work has paid off and their businesses have been selected to receive $2,500 each in funding from the GetSetUp Startup Accelerator Program.
Meet the funding recipients
Neeta Goyal (Mumbai, Maharashtra), a porcelain painting artist and founder of Aria Arts, will use the funds to participate in art fairs, including the Nehru Art Exhibition. She also hopes to rent out two galleries by the end of the year to exhibit her work. Neeta also teaches art classes and her goal is to increase class sizes to ten students. And, eventually, she’d like to add a kiln to her workshop.
Leslie Lamb, owner of Grace Place Creative in Albequerque, is a graphic designer. She will upgrade to a new computer and monitor so she can lead her first small business co-hort through a six week long intensive course on how to develop their brand and marketing material.
Bharathi Udaya Kumar (Bangalore, Karnataka) is the owner of Bharathi's Jhatpat Foods which creates ready-to-cook premixes. She currently has 500 customers and wants to increase that number to 3,000 - 4,000. With the prize money, she will create a small manufacturing unit in her home and hire people in her community. Her goal is to increase her product line to ten items.
Linda Sivilich, owner of Classes Offered in Aston in suburban Philadelphia, teaches sewing classes in her home. She has ten students and would like to increase that number to 20-25 by the end of the year. She’ll use the money she’s won to market her business and upgrade her phone, which she considers her most important business tool.
Twyla Teitzel, owner of Plant Based Twy in suburban Sacramento, is a whole food plant-based diet influencer. Her goals are to update her website, get 1,000 followers on social media, get four sponsors, and start a podcast.
All of the participants had great ideas and as they continue to grow their businesses through the year, they will continue to receive support through:
- Upcoming classes on entrepreneurship, technology, finance, and more.
- Mentorship if they have any questions or need support on the best ways to grow their business
Lynn Bradley (Mikado, Michigan) is the founder of the podcast We to Just Me - Widow Support which helps people who have recently lost their spouse navigate life after loss. She's looking to build a supportive community and resource center for people who have been recently widowed.
Mantel Featherson (North Wales, PA) is the founder of Evolve@50+ which aims to help people 50s and beyond live fulfilling lives by finding a sense of purpose, becoming healthy, and becoming financially secure. His goals include marketing and PR efforts, more product development such as guides, content creation and distribution, and publishing a series of books.
Adele Field (Melstone, MT) is the owner of Flashback Garage, a retro boutique selling upcycled and hand-crafted gifts as well as plants in rural Montana. She would like to renovate a vintage garage and turn it into her dream business and purchase a greenhouse for the plants she plans to sell.
Sandra Foster (Atlanta) founded Foster Pockets, a company that makes removable pockets that are easily transferred from one fabric to another without requiring a permanent modification to the host fabric, altering the design, or creating physical discomfort to the wearer. She hopes to scale her business and market to corporate entities and retailers.
Ruby Holland (Seattle) is a housing advocate in Seattle where she founded the Keep Your Habitat Anti-Displacement Project, an organization that educates people and helps them keep their homes in areas where upzoning is occurring. She would like to upgrade her computer so that she can more effectively hold Zoom meetings with local neighborhood groups.
Steven Olsen (Centennial, CO) is the founder of Optimal Performance where he coaches people to deal with stress effectively. He would like to start adding videos to YouTube that explain his principles and the power of having a positive attitude.
Renu Aggarwal (Mumbai, Maharashtra) is the founder of Samman, a self-help trust aimed at empowering women economically, socially, and emotionally. She would like to expand the support she can offer women with additional programs.
Cora Pereira Bhatia (Salvador do mundo, Goa) is the founder of CoRa Design Studio. She paints recycled wine bottles, plates, and yogurt containers and makes jewelry with fabric and beads. She would like to upgrade her laptop, create a website, and increase her advertising and marketing efforts.
Geita Chatterjee (Mumbai, Maharashtra) founded The Sticky Dough, a home bakery business, during the pandemic. She would like to upscale her business by moving to a commercial space and hiring a few employees.
Neeta Mehta (Mumbai, Maharashtra) is the founder of Dadi’s Secret where she sells organic homemade ayurvedic edibles. She hopes to expand her business to include healthcare and personal care products.
Nirmala Prabhu (Kalena Agrahara) is the founder of Knowledge Pitara, which sells educational games, toys, and books. In addition to selling her books to schools, she would also like to sell them online.
Vaidhehi Prakash (Chennai, Tamilnadu) makes a health powder mix, made with grains, millets, and dry-roasted nuts. She would like to expand her business to help more people eat healthier.
Anjana Shankar (Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala) loves to bake and would like to share her recipes through YouTube videos and Instagram. She’s also like to start a home-based baking business.
If you missed Demo Days, we’ve got you covered. We've made all of the class recordings available online. Now you can still catch up on all the amazing pitches.
Check out the links below to get started:
We’ll keep you updated on their progress. We can't wait to see what the future holds for these entrepreneurs and their businesses!