Cincinnati, OH, July 26, 2018 –– Healthy Roots, a toy company that creates dolls and storybooks that empower children during the early stages of identity development, announced today their first-place finish in the New Voices Fund pitch that took place July 7 in New Orleans.
The competition — held during Essence Festival, an annual event in New Orleans created to celebrate black culture, music, hair care, and more — was organized by the New Voices Fund, a $100 million fund created by Richlieu Dennis of Sundial Brands, which includes the companies SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage.
This victory is the latest accomplishment in what has been a remarkable year for Healthy Roots. Earlier this year, they took home the grand prize at the American Underground’s Startup Stampede –– a business incubator and pitch competition with the winner receiving $100,000 in marketing support from McKinney.
“This capital is crucial to the growth of Healthy Roots, especially with the holiday season coming up,” said Yelitsa Jean-Charles, founder and CEO of Healthy Roots. “There are so many options and opportunities for people who don't look like me to scale their companies. That's why the work that Rich Dennis and the New Voices Fund team is doing is important. Without funds like this, companies like Healthy Roots would not exist."
Out of hundreds of applicants, eight finalists were chosen to give a three-minute pitch in front of an audience. The audience then voted for their favorite, with Healthy Roots earning the top prize of a $25,000 investment. Competitors were presented to the audience at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where Jesse Jackson and Richlieu Dennis spoke about supporting black female entrepreneurs and black businesses.
Healthy Roots attended the Essence Festival with the help of a travel stipend provided to them by Venture for America. Jean-Charles is also a Venture for America Fellow.
About Healthy Roots
Launched in 2015 as a response to lack of diversity in the toy aisle, Healthy Roots combines dolls and storybooks to teach natural hair care to young girls and positively influence self-image during the early stages of identity development. The dolls are designed with different skin tones, facial features, and hair textures to represent the diversity of the African Diaspora, and the line is set to expand to represent girls of color from around the world.