by Jarquita Brown
The Higher Purpose Business Fellowship gives Black entrepreneurs in Mississippi the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship by getting the tools and resources they need to expand their business.
Higher Purpose first cohort of business fellows graduated and had the opportunity to pitch their business in front of a large audience with a chance of winning $3,000. The fellows also received a plaque for their participation in the program.
The winners of the pitch competition were Theodore and LaTanthony Strong, owners of Sweet Tooth Teddy, LLC. Sweet Tooth Teddy is a bakery business located in Clarksdale where each recipe is homemade.
The Strong’s were very excited about winning the competition.
“I’m going to let you in on a little secret,” says Theodore, “when it was my wife’s turn to go during the pitch, when she told the audience to close their eyes ‘and imagine being in an aroma filled kitchen with all of their favorite desserts.’
She told me closing her eyes is what helped her get through the pitch because of her nervousness. So, I had no idea that was the real reason why she had everyone to close their eyes,” he continued, laughing.
During the couple’s pitch, LaTanthony said, “We cater to our community by delivering those things (our recipes) straight to you no matter where you are in Clarksdale. We will come straight to you.
We will communicate with you and interact with you and be a part of our community because community is family and we value that so much, so that’s the basis of Sweet Tooth Teddy.”
Each fellow had three minutes to pitch their business before guest judges who were Dewon Hall, owner of That Creative Guy, TaKisha Bishop, owner of God’s Helping Hands Learning Academy, and Charlestein Harris, Southern Bancorp Credit Housing Counselor.
Hall, Bishop and Harris were very instrumental throughout the fellowship program, mentoring the fellows and providing them with information they needed to thrive in their business endeavors.
“The Higher Purpose Business Fellowship Graduation and Pitch Competition was an awesome experience,” Hall said.
He added, “I was so honored to be a judge and thoroughly enjoyed hearing the first HPC Business Fellow graduates pitch their business. Both ideas from HPC are excellent because they help local small businesses continue to thrive. More importantly, they stay right here in the Mississippi Delta and help our local economy.”
The other first cohort of fellows were: Jecorry Miller, owner of Birthplace of American Music (BAM) Festival, Dorfus and Ernestine Young, owners of Young Family Farm, Jerry McCray, owner of Dreamboat Hot Tamales, Vanessa Taylor, owner of Taylor Christian Learning Academy, and Malaika Howard, owner of Better Than Beautiful Academy.
Higher Purpose selects for-profit businesses whose focus is in the following areas: food, health, education, and arts/culture.
More information about how to apply for our next cohort of business fellows will be available soon. Contact Angela Williams, Community Wealth Coordinator at Angela@higherpurposeco.org or call 662-592-5262