• Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn wins Fort Worth enterprise competitors

ByEditor

May 26, 2023

Husband and wife duo Michael and Shalonda Burnside say they opened Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn to teach their daughters about entrepreneurship.

Shalonda Burnside

As a new mom, Shalonda Burnside was struggling to reenter the workforce. Burnside had worked as a Lowe’s project coordinator and Dwelling Depot advertising and marketing coordinator ahead of going into teaching and then getting two daughters. But she normally knew she wanted to develop into an entrepreneur.

With the aid of her husband, Michael, who operates in finance in Fort Worth, the Burnsides started to assume outdoors the box and decided to start out a enterprise primarily based on a shared passion.

“We began Lil Pop since of our adore for popcorn as a loved ones and a wish to teach our two daughters entrepreneurship,” Burnside stated. “We knew this would be the excellent chance for us to apply our experiences from the corporate planet and start out a gourmet popcorn firm.”

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Husband and wife duo Michael and Shalonda Burnside say they opened Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn to teach their daughters about entrepreneurship. Shalonda Burnside

Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn specializes in handmade popcorn with a signature line such as birthday cake, cinnamon churro and cookies and cream flavors. Shoppers can also develop their personal popcorn by picking a base and toppings.

Neighborhood consumers can order on the net and acquire their popcorn inside two days, and the enterprise lately started shipping across the U.S. The Burnsides also sell their treats at pop-ups in the Fort Worth region.

Now, the loved ones enterprise has won the city of Fort Worth’s annual enterprise program competitors. The firm received a grand prize of $ten,000 to assistance its enterprise endeavors. This is also the 1st time a Black-owned enterprise has won in the competition’s 12-year history.

By way of the competitors, 20 regional smaller firms completed six weeks of coaching and education in enterprise improvement. The top rated eight finalists pitched their enterprise notion to a panel of judges and reside audience on May well 11 and submitted written plans for judge evaluation.

“Being in that atmosphere to share our highs, lows, and dreams with the group was extremely motivational and gave us the validation that we have been on the suitable path,” Burnside stated. “Winning the competitors has offered us the chance to pour sources into the firm sooner than we anticipated. We’ve observed an instant enhance in interest in our firm which has resulted in far more sales.”

Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn specializes in handmade popcorn with a signature line such as birthday cake, cinnamon churro and cookies and cream flavors. Shalonda Burnside

Shalonda’s function as CEO and founder of the firm offers her the chance to balance getting a remain-at-household mom and developing the enterprise. Meanwhile, husband Michael balances his complete-time finance job although serving as the business’ chief monetary officer.

“Our plans are to develop the firm significant adequate for each of us to function in the enterprise complete time inside the subsequent 5 years,” Burnside stated.

Saria Hawkins pitches Manifest Your Goal, a stationary firm that targets Black girls. Rachel DeLira Fort Worth Financial Improvement Division

A $six,000 second-spot prize went to Manifest Your Goal, a luxury stationery and workplace accessories enterprise run by Saria Hawkins. Expanding up, Hawkins saw a lack of representation of Black girls in the stationary business and wanted to develop stationary solutions to reflect her culture and likeness.

Manifest Your Goal specializes in luxury stationary that represents Black girls. Whitney Blocker Whitney B Jordan

Hawkins sells her solutions on her web page and Amazon, and attends numerous vendor events every single year. Hawkins saw a 275% income enhance throughout the 1st year of operating her enterprise. She has delivered far more than three,700 stationary orders to girls about the planet and in some cases completes 200 orders per month.

Brian Frank’s enterprise Knarly Vans won third spot in the 2023 Fort Worth enterprise program competitors. Rachel DeLira Fort Worth Financial Improvement Division

Knarly Vans, a firm that outfits passenger vans, won a third-spot prize of $four,000. Organization owner Brian Frank stated his company’s outfitting is ADA compliant and assists fill holes in passenger van floors when the seats are lifted for wheelchairs. The firm also sells insulated window covers and other solutions.

The enterprise has sold to 11 nations, such as various in Europe exactly where van life is well-liked. The firm has generated $30,000 in income and expects to produce $200,000 subsequent year if the enterprise stays on track.

Soon after every single of the eight finalists presented their pitches, audience members had a opportunity to vote for their favorites.

Michelle Holloway pitches her enterprise, Life-style Transitions, which won the well-liked vote from audience members. Rachel DeLira Fort Worth Financial Improvement Division

Life-style Transitions owner Michelle Holloway won the well-liked vote. Holloway performs household inspections for seniors and tends to make suggestions to avoid falls and enhance security. Holloway is an occupational therapist on track to acquire her post-expert doctorate degree. A 60-minute session fees $290, and solutions are authorized by insurance coverage.

The remaining finalists integrated homemade candy firm Hallelujah! Brittles and Sweets, mental overall health agency Honeybee Wellness &amp Consulting, plant-primarily based foods distributor Pure Vegan Pantry and self-publishing firm RIPE Publishing Residence.

Seventeen of the 20 firms who participated in the 2023 competitors have been minority- or girls-owned firms, the strongest diversity of Fort Worth’s enterprise program competitors to date. This was also the 1st time the competitors integrated representation from seven of the city’s council districts.

“It’s thrilling to see the Fort Worth Organization Program Competitors attract a group of competitors that holistically reflects our city’s enterprise neighborhood,” stated Andrea Duffie, communications specialist for the city’s financial improvement division. “That is particularly correct for minority and girls-owned firms, who have historically struggled to access these types of sources and coaching when it comes to expanding and scaling their corporations.”

Judges and audience members watched eight smaller firms pitch their enterprise ideas on May well 11 at the city’s annual enterprise program competitors. Rachel DeLira Fort Worth Financial Improvement Division

To qualify for the competitors, firms had to be two to 5 years old with an annual income of much less than $500,000. All of the firms had to be positioned inside Fort Worth.

The financial improvement division for the city of Fort Worth organized the competitors with sponsorship from Frost Bank. Supporting partners TechFW, HSC Innovates, Tarrant County Smaller Organization Improvement Center, SCORE Fort Worth, the North Texas Entrepreneur Education and Instruction Center and AccelerateDFW Foundation contributed mentorship and coaching.

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