Two Emerge Initiative Awardees to be honored at the Oregon Angel Food Grand Finale & Marketplace on September 17th, 2022.
September 14, 2022. Portland, Ore: The BFM Fund recognizes two Emerge Initiative Awardees at the Oregon Angel Food 2020 on Saturday, as part of its ongoing partnership with the nonprofit Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN). Affouet Price, founder of Hibisbloom, and Eugene Jung, founder of Skaut Coffee Roasters, both take the stage during this year’s Grand Finale and Marketplace to accept the awards as the newest grantees.
The public can sample from both companies at Oregon Angel Food 2022 (OregonAF) in Southeast Portland on Saturday, as part of a marketplace featuring some of Oregon’s best and newest craft food and beverage makers.
- Hibisbloom (Tigard) This mother and daughter-owned company is inspired by West African food culture. Hibisbloom is their interpretation of the traditional hibiscus flower tea Bissap in the production of a premium hibiscus-based beverage and cocktail mixer. The line of products is made with ethically sourced indigenous wholesome ingredients from trusted suppliers of the West African region and is available online and at various grocery stores in Oregon and Washington including Market of Choice, New Season Market, Basics Market, and more.
- Skaut Coffee (Portland) Roasts coffee in small batches and offers consumers an innovative format with its Pour Over Pack Coffee that allows you to make the freshest coffee on the road, at a campsite, on the trail, or at home without requiring any special pour-over equipment. Founded during the pandemic, the product can now be found in all Market of Choice stores, specialty retail stores in Portland, and more locations, soon.
The Emerge Initiative is designed to help level the playing field by supporting early-stage companies led by entrepreneurs of color. The unrestricted $5,000 awards provide funds to build prototypes, design packaging, hire staff, or do other tasks necessary to build market traction before seeking equity investment.
“Systemic racism and the resulting lack of generational wealth has meant that many founders of color do not have access to ‘friends and family’ money to support the development of their startups at the earliest stages,” said Himalaya Rao, managing director, The BFM Fund. “It is vital to us to bring different and new funding sources to the table. This is our second year working with OEN to get money into the hands of food and beverage entrepreneurs at an earlier stage so they can get the traction they need to compete for other funding sources down the road.”
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, Tillamook, Oregon Section Institute of Food Technologists, and Portland Culinary Alliance helped to fund the awards. Grantees in 2021 included Kama Hard Coffee, Khalsa Salsa, and Leslie’s Lumpia.
“We’re honored that The BFM Fund continues to entrust OEN to provide an ongoing platform for the Emerge Initiative,” said Cara Turano, executive director, OEN. “We are committed to helping raise funds, engaging early-stage founders of color, and providing robust support to awardees. It is important work.”
OEN supports the Emerge Initiative by hosting its Awards at every OEN education and investment event, including Oregon Angel Food, Angel Oregon Tech, and is committed to incorporating them into any new OEN programs.
Saturday’s marketplace at The Redd includes more than 50 food and beverage veterans and newcomers sampling and selling some of Oregon’s best packaged food and beverages. The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased online.
The BFM Fund is a $10 million venture fund focused on Black founders. The Emerge Initiative is a program launched by BFM Fund 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 https://www.bfm.fund.
Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs start up and scale up. The organization hosts entrepreneur education and angel investment programs such as Angel Oregon Life & Bioscience (AOBIO), Angel Oregon Tech (AOTech), and Oregon Angel Food (OregonAF), as well as the annual OEN Entrepreneurship Awards. Learn more at www.oen.org.