OEN NewsOregonAF 2021 Emerge Initiative Awardees Announced


Three Emerge Initiative Awardees were announced at the Oregon Angel Food Grand Finale & Marketplace on September 17th, 2021.

Portland, OR: Black Founders Matter announced three Emerge Initiative Awardees at the Oregon Angel Food Grand Finale & Marketplace on Friday, September 17th, 2021, and an ongoing partnership with the nonprofit Oregon Entrepreneurs Network to support the program.

  • Leslie’s Lumpia Portland, OR | Founded by Leslie Regalado, Leslie’s Lumpia is about connecting with old and new friends through Filipino food. Leslie’s version of the traditional dish is made with plant-based and gluten-free ingredients, and found in the frozen foods aisle of the grocery store. Leslie’s Luvin Sauce offers the perfect complement for dipping. Now available at Market of Choice and World Foods.
  • Khalsa Salsa Beaverton, OR | According to founders Rupinder Kaur and Sukhdev Singh, no outing in urban India where they grew up was complete without a visit to bustling food stalls on every street corner. They explain that what makes Indian street food special is “chatpata flavor” – a delectable blend of spicy, tangy, savory, and sweet – now available in the US via Khalsa Salsa, found at New Seasons Markets, Market of Choice, Green Zebra Grocery and World Foods.
  • Kama Hard Coffee Portland, OR | Founder Vince Siler put together a dream team of friends to found Kama Hard Coffee. KÄMÄ’s mission is to be a premium hard coffee beverage and lifestyle brand for people who want to boldly express life’s punctuations and moments. Soon to be available at New Seasons Markets.

Each awardee will receive a $5,000 non-dilutive grant (meaning the founders retain all equity in the company), to be used for the development of their businesses. A generous cadre of sponsors, including New Seasons Market, Prosper Portland, Columbia Bank, Oregon Section Institute of Food Technologists, Market of Choice and OEN helped to fund the awards.

As Black Founders Matter Managing Director, Himalaya Rao, described during Friday’s finale, systemic racism and the resulting lack of generational wealth has meant that many founders of color do not have access to “friends & family” money to support the development of their startups at the earliest stages. The Emerge Initiative is designed to help level the playing field by supporting early-stage entrepreneurs led by founders of color in accessing unrestricted funds to build prototypes, design packaging, hire staff, or do other tasks necessary to build market traction prior to seeking equity investment.

OEN Executive Director Amanda Oborne announced that OEN will support the Emerge Initiative by hosting its Awards at every OEN education and investment event, including Oregon Angel Food, Angel Oregon Tech, and any new programs. “We’re honored that Black Founders Matter trusts OEN to provide an ongoing platform for the Emerge Initiative and will do the work of helping raise funds, engaging early-stage founders of color, and providing robust support to awardees.”

Black Founders Matter (BFM) is a $10 million venture fund focused on Black founders. The Emerge Initiative is a program launched by BFM in partnership with OEN to help early-stage founders of color access unrestricted funding for business development in order to gain market traction and become investment-ready. Learn more at www.blackfoundersmatter.org

Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs start up and scale up. The organization hosts two main entrepreneur education and angel investment programs: Angel Oregon Tech (AOTech) and Oregon Angel Food (OregonAF), as well as the annual OEN Entrepreneurship Awards. Learn more at www.oen.org


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