Get Down to Business Accelerator

6/29/2022 3:00:00 PM

Bell Bank News

3 Finalists Chosen for $100,000 ‘Shark Tank’

Bell Bank, The Get Down Coffee Co. and Neighborhood Development Center have announced 3 finalists who will have the opportunity to participate in The Get Down To Business Accelerator, a “shark tank” style event co-hosted July 18 during the 3M Open events in Blaine, Minn.

Congratulations to these Minnesota entrepreneurs!

  • David Hicks and Cartier Banks of Code White Teeth Whitening – Code White provides accessible teeth whitening services and offers franchising opportunities as a step to financial wellness – plus a giveback to the Black community in supporting dental health. Their first location has opened in Eden Prairie Center.
  • Annie Qaiser of Silk Road Wellness – Recently a featured business in the Community Commons at Mall of America, Silk Road offers a broad range of natural, homemade and halal-certified skincare wellness products. Silk Road is also the first natural skincare and wellness brand in the country inspired by Islamic traditions and halal principles.
  • Essence Shabazz of E.Bazz Beauty Supply – With a storefront in St. Paul, E.Bazz is looking to add a second location in Minneapolis for its local hair and beauty supplies and services. Billing itself as a place “where beauty and community meet,” the company has an underlying mission of bringing jobs, resources and business education through its expansion.

Chosen from nearly 50 applicants, each finalist will have the opportunity to pitch their business before a live audience and a panel of dynamic business leaders – entrepreneur and community leader Houston White, Wendy Nelson of the Carlson Family Foundation, and Mike Sweeney, former chairman of Steinway & Sons and StarTribune Media. Our 3 entrepreneurs will be awarded mentoring, resources and up to $100,000 in unrestricted grants to fuel expansion and scaling retail locations, products and sales.

Leaders from Bell Bank, Neighborhood Development Center and The Get Down Coffee Co. will host the event. Bell Bank and the 3M Open Fund are funding the program with Neighborhood Development Center, which will distribute $100,000 in grants awarded.

“We are thrilled with the ingenuity of these businesses,” says Renay Dossman, president of Neighborhood Development Center, “and we can't wait for them to receive even more exposure in the community. We also thank Bell Bank for putting together an incredible opportunity for supporting our local small businesses. Together, we can leverage entrepreneurship as a wealth-building tool.”