Hy-Vee Supports Local Businesses With Grant Awards

A total of $50K was given to 3 diverse companies
Emily Crowe
Multimedia Editor
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Three business owners were given business grants by Hy-Vee to further their companies.

At this year’s OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit, Hy-Vee, Inc. awarded grants to three local minority- and women-owned businesses. The pitch competition was held during the summit and included 10 companies that were selected to showcase their products or services in front of a panel of judges.

Companies eligible for the grants offered retail-ready solutions in categories including food and beverage, product innovation and technology, health and beauty, sustainability, and service and entertainment.

Gnarly Pepper from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which offers a healthy alternative to traditional dips and condiments, took first place in the pitch competition and received a business grant of $25,000. LuLit’s Hair Essence came in second and received a $15,000 grant, while Variegate, a company that makes color-changing stitches that detect infections, came in third and received $10,000.

Other participants in the pitch competition were:

  • 5 Borough Bagels, Clive, Iowa
  • BOCS DSM, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Crazy Goat Soap, Dubuque, Iowa
  • DogCuterie Box, Clear Lake, Iowa
  • eat G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R., Andover, Kansas
  • Linda Tong Planners, Urbandale, Iowa
  • The Pink Umbrella Bakery, Coralville, Iowa

The day-long business summit invited local professionals and community members to gather for a small-business vendor expo, small-group panel discussions and a keynote presentation. Speakers included Taufeek Shah, founder and CEO of Lola’s Fine Hot Sauce; Maurice Davis, business strategist with Entrepreneur Edge Service; and Tiffany O’Donnell, CEO of Women Lead Change and mayor of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The Midwest grocer also hosted its first virtual Pet Products Summit earlier this month, as well as its sixth Best of Local Brands Summit to expand and enhance the product offerings at its more than 285 retail stores across eight states. 

Employee-owned Hy-Vee has a team of more than 93,000 employees. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based company is No. 30 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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