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Hy-Vee Awards $50,000 in Grants to Local Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses in Omaha

Grand prize winner, Humbl Roots, manufactures alternative foods to accommodate dietary restrictions. 

February 1, 2024 | News & Press Releases

Today, Hy-Vee, Inc. awarded $50,000 to minority- and women-owned businesses during the Hy-Vee OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit at the Scott Conference Center, located on the University of Nebraska Omaha's Scott Campus in Omaha.

During the pitch competition component of the event, 15 companies from across the Midwest presented to a panel of judges and more than 200 event attendees. Each company leader was able to demonstrate their product or explain their service for the chance to win a small-business grant from Hy-Vee. A Hy-Vee committee selected the participating companies from more than 100 applications.

Hy-Vee recognized the following during an awards presentation that followed the pitch competition:

Grand Prize Winner - $30,000: Humbl Roots, Jacquelyn Burkland, Omaha, Neb.
About: Humbl Roots is a food manufacturing company whose mission is to bring people to the table and have them leave feeling good. Without compromising quality and taste, the company reinvents familiar foods in order to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Category: Food & Beverage

  • 1st place - $5,000: A+ Berry, Dr. Xiaoquing Xie, Lincoln, Neb.

About: A+ Berry is a Big 10 food tech company based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that is creating innovative & delicious antioxidant drinks for health. Their first product is AroJuice, a cold-pasteurized and delicious juice made from a super fruit, the Aronia berry, which is grown in the Midwest and provides the highest antioxidant protection.

Category: Innovation & Technology

  • 1st place - $5,000: RESPI, Jessica Queen, Omaha, Neb.
    About: RESPI is developing a medical device to save lives during military operations, mass casualty events, and overcrowded Emergency rooms. StatPatch® is uniquely designed for monitoring large groups of people simultaneously.

Category: Health, Wellness & Beauty

  • 1st place - $5,000: Mama’s Garden Apothecary, Newhall, Iowa

About: In its most simple form, Mama’s Garden Apothecary is comfort. Whether it is the small batch handmade skin care, aromatherapy, loose leaf teas, soups, spices or herbal remedies, Mama’s Garden specializes in bringing peace and comfort to peoples’ everyday lives.

 Planting People Growing Justice, LLC (St. Paul, Minn.) and Angel Buck Corporation (Bunker Hill, Ill.) were also presented with smaller cash prizes for their business ventures.

In addition to the above winners, the following also participated in the pitch competition:

  • Cup of Coa, Kearney, Neb.
  • Harken Sweets, Chicagoland, Ill.
  • Sunday Night Foods, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Anchovy, Lincoln, Neb.
  • AskSAMIE, Kansas City, Mo.
  • RC Party Accents, LLC, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Evodia Fragrances, Omaha, Neb.
  • Jadomté Mobile Nail Bar, Omaha, Neb.
  • Superfood Body Shop, Omaha, Neb.

The event featured an expo that offered resources for small businesses, learning opportunities through presentations and panel discussions, the chance to learn about local brands and more.

The Hy-Vee OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit is one of several initiatives led by Hy-Vee that helps support minority- and women-owned businesses in the communities it serves. Hy-Vee remains committed to inclusivity by expanding product and service offerings that appeal to diverse lifestyles and backgrounds.


Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 550 business units across eight Midwestern states with sales of more than $13 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 5 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 3 favorite grocery stores. The company’s more than 75,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit