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Hy-Vee OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit - Sioux Falls, SD

June 11, 2024 | News & Press Releases

Hy-Vee OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit – Sioux Falls, SD

Announcing the Top 15 Pitch Competitors

The Hy-Vee Inclusive Business Summit will take place on Tuesday, Jun. 18 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, SD. The summit is free and open to the public and is a full day of networking, one-on-one mentoring with Hy-Vee store directors and gaining valuable insights and information from business leaders through breakout sessions. After receiving over 60 pitch applications, 15 minority- and women-owned businesses have been selected to participate in one of three pitch competition categories to showcase their products or services. A panel of judges – which will include celebrity judge Chef Paul Wahlberg of the Wahlburgers franchise - will select one winner of the $30,000 grand prize, and one business from each category will win $5,000. Additional cash investments may be awarded. To register for the expo visit:

Speaker presenting at Hy-Vee Opportunity Summit

The following businesses have been selected to present during the pitch competition:

Food and Beverage

Business: Every Body Eat

Owner: Trish Thomas

Location: Evanston, IL


Every Body Eat® crafts irresistible baked goods—snack thins, cookies and grain-free crispbreads crafted with wholesome ingredients, satisfying 85% of label-conscious consumers. Addressing the top concern of 65% of US families with dietary restrictions, our treats are allergen-free and delicious.


Business: IFRI

Owner: Tashie George

Location: Minneapolis, MN


Manbo Ginger Beer, founded in March 2020 by Tashie George, is the result of a shared vision to offer exceptional beverages that reflect its ingredients' cultural diversity and authenticity. At Manbo Ginger Beer, our mission is to offer unique and authentic experiences of Africa to our customers while contributing to the economic growth and stability of BIPOC communities worldwide. The beverage is available in alcoholic (5% ABV), nonalcoholic and THC variations. All raw materials are produced in South Africa, imported into the United States and co-packed locally in Minnesota.


Business: Jefferson Beer Supply

Owner: Nicki Werner

Location: Jefferson, SD


Jefferson Beer Supply is a woman-led small-batch craft brewery about 15 minutes north of downtown Sioux City. The brewery makes its own craft beer on-site, utilizing locally sourced products and beer ingredients. The organization prides themselves on being a community space that serves craft beer, wine, hard cider, non-alcoholic beer, kombucha, craft sodas, boba tea and pizza


Business: Salas Salsas

Owner: Marcela Salas

Location: Sioux Falls, SD


As first-generation immigrant women, Salas Salsas journey has been fueled by resilience, passion and a commitment to sharing our heritage through food. Our salsas include Salsa Roja, Salsa Verde, Jalapeno Lime, Sala’s Queso and Salsa Macha, each designed to bring a burst of flavor to any dish. We invite you to our table to experience what fresh salsa means to us.


Business: Soul Grain

Owners: Liza Jackson & Sylvia Williams

Location: Saint Paul, MN


Soul Grain Granola is made with love in small batches to ensure freshness and our signature light crunch. Flavors include Sweet Potato Casserole, Banana Pudding, Coco Mango, Spiced Paradise and Neutral Nelly. All are gluten-free, contain only natural ingredients and no canola oil. We are not your average granola!


Tech and Innovation

Business: Boxes

Owner: Fernando Machin Gojdycz

Location: Minneapolis, MN


Boxes simplifies the connection between customers and brands, enabling product trials that consumers might love while integrating engaging, gamified solutions and dynamic surveys. This approach captures valuable first-party data. By nurturing relationships between brands and consumers, we enhance customer engagement, optimize data collection, facilitate digital discount coupon distribution and provide post-trial product reviews. Our holistic approach boosts conversion rates across both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores.


Business: My AED & CPR Solutions

Owner: Dale Wakasugi

Location: Woodbury, MN


My AED & CPR Solutions is an AED (automated external defibrillator) distributor and provides CPR training. This company provides small businesses, corporations, and individual people who are interested in protecting their employees and customers against cardiac arrest, which is the number one killer in the U.S.


Business: Sensiil Studios

Owner: Aniekanabasi White

Location: Des Moines, IA


As Iowa and Nebraska's first black comic book publisher, Sensiil Studios aspires to bring representation to the science fiction and fantasy genres. Sensiil Studios is a space where Pan-African people can see themselves in the future and see that they have a future by producing stories with black lead characters. We fight today for a better tomorrow. We write to bring the better tomorrow to today.


Business: Teresa Wrich Consulting

Owner: Teresa Wrich

Location: Hartford, SD

Teresa Wrich Consulting offers comprehensive leadership training, consulting, coaching and speaking engagements, all focused on authentic, heart-centered leadership. The consulting firm Teresa Wrich is committed to making a positive impact, locally and nationally, by empowering leaders to disrupt status quo thinking, make a difference, and address inclusivity of backgrounds, ideas and experiences.


Business: TrueToForm

Owner: Janice Tam

Location: Rochester, MN


TrueToForm is a female and minority-founded AI startup that helps shoppers find clothes that fit using our award-winning body scanning app. Our technology is trusted by made-to-measure brands like The Tailory New York and design teams at companies like Burton. The company is particularly focused on serving the 29% of the U.S. apparel market that is “hard-to-fit” including categories like plus sizes, petites, maternity, and swimwear - where our fit prediction technology can provide an outsized impact for lifting shopper confidence to purchase and reducing fit-related returns.


Health, Wellness, Beauty

Business: eqUTI

Owner: Grace Kramer

Location: Aberdeen, SD

eqUTI represents a groundbreaking innovation in preventing urinary tract infections. This product harnesses the power of a proprietary blend of probiotic bacteria infused into a hydrocolloid patche to create a physical barrier, offering a safe, nontoxic and cost-effective solution for consumers. It aims to address the common problem of post-coital UTIs with a comfortable, single-use product that enhances safety and wellness.


Business: Healthy Hip Hop

Owner: Roy Scott

Location: Kansas City, MO


Healthy Hip Hop is the "Urban Disney", blending the essence of hip-hop culture with cutting-edge technology and educational values to enhance student learning environments and establish a safe online experience for children. Through our dual-sided streaming platform, we seamlessly integrate culture into classrooms while empowering kids to safely create, publish and share video content.


Business: LAMIK

Owner: Kim Roxie

Location: Chicago, IL


LAMIK Beauty is a vegan, cruelty-free color cosmetics (makeup) company made in the USA. 75% of beauty products marketed to women of color are toxic, even though women of color spend nine times more on beauty products. There are over 10 million women who have a hard time finding makeup that is vegan, cruelty-free and can show up on all skin tones. LAMIK is an inclusive brand that caters to all shades and skin textures.


Business: Sisu

Owner: Erin Little

Location: Lee's Summit, MO


Sisu offers a dual-focused approach to tackling teen mental health challenges. The MTSS software identifies and addresses mental health concerns at different tiers, ensuring a proactive and personalized intervention strategy focusing on subclinical mental health skill building. Simultaneously, our telehealth services connect teens and their families with mental health professionals and coaches, creating a seamless and accessible support system.


Business: Yes! Athletics

Owner: Deborah North

Location: Topeka, KS

Yes! Athletics is passionate about supporting girls in non-traditional sports. It has been 50 years since Title IX was passed, and girls still wear boy's shoes. Yes! Athletics is the first to market shoes made for girls in wrestling. Now that girls have their own shoes and apparel, they can feel more confident competing. Yes! Athletics shoes are both fashionable and functional.