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Innovation Included, by First Founders Inc.

Innovation Included, by First Founders Inc.

By First Founders
A new podcast telling the stories of diverse entrepreneurs and innovators contributing to a more inclusive and equitable startup ecosystem.

First Founders Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, is on a mission to lower barriers to entry and
increase the likelihood of success in the innovation ecosystem by creating access to
educational programming, relevant networks, and funding opportunities where entrepreneurs
from diverse backgrounds are challenged to meet their full potential and equipped with the resources necessary to thrive.
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Our Pitch Competition finale is here! Who will win?
THE RESULTS ARE IN! 27 startups gained a combined total of 21,521 listens during our Podcast Pitch Competition! Here's the Top 5 Leaderboard (Rank Ordered by Total Listens): 1) Backyard Gig (6,002 listens) 2) GetPotluck (2,934 listens) 3) The Cubby (2,900 listens) 4) Goalden Hour (2,415 listens) 5) Wilminvest (2,252 listens) Additionally, 5 more startups selected by our preliminary round judges to also advance to the finals include: Kiddie Kredit, Wavlength, femPAQ Inc., Cafecito, and Dendwell. Tune in to hear these 10 startups pitch and compete for $10k in prizes! Our judges included Liz Brown of Fawns Leap, Ariel Gruswitz of Delaware Prosperity Partnership, and Saba Karim of Techstars. Check out the full video on YouTube as well!
01:29:31
March 11, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Novello Restoration | Jessica Longo
Novello Restoration is a digital concierge that simplifies wardrobe repair for young professionals.
08:05
January 25, 2021
Introducing Our Podcast Pitch Competition: Your Listens Choose the Winners!
Here at First Founders Inc., we’re serious about amplifying the voices of diverse founders while working hard to get them access to the resources necessary to succeed. We’re also driven by creativity and constant experimentation, so we’re especially excited to officially kick off our new Podcast Pitch Competition! We’ve got a dynamic group of 27 startup founders from across the U.S. competing for $10,000 in cash prizes (Sponsored by Delaware Prosperity Partnership), and they need your help to win... Each participating startup has been challenged with answering a serious of questions in their own episode on our Innovation Included Podcast. Questions included: Who are you and why do you do what you do? What’s your 3-minute startup pitch? What does Inclusive Innovation mean to you? Each startup has from now until February 5th at 11:59pm ET to get as many listens on their podcast episode as they can. The top 5 startups with the most listens and top 5 selected by a panel of judges will advance to pitch live at the Finals on February 24th at 7pm ET (Save the Date)! So, if you’re serious about supporting underrepresented founders and building a more inclusive ecosystem, we need your help! Please listen to each episode, share their stories, and help them win!
01:43
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: LitterHero | Kenneth Burnett
LitterHero allows conciencious citizens to report trash, litter, needles, plotholes and graffities in a matter of seconds though our app by simply taking and tagging a picture. We then provide municipalities with tools to help them monitor the issues and organise their teams to fix them efficiently and quickly.
09:02
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: One Way Tour Life | Christian Essimbe & Erica Lockett
One Way Tour Life is a Luxury Travel Company that provides luxury travel services such as planning, and concierge.
05:53
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Bbeauty | Pamela Garza
Bbeauty: Social media marketplace app for the beauty community that empowers micro creators & small brands.
07:18
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: ReRent | Alikiah Barclay
ReRent: Monetizing underutilized housing.
09:11
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: The Cubby | Joshua Kim
The Cubby: The online marketplace for student creators.
05:31
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Dri | Deirdre Horan
Dri is a line of durable, fashionable, and environmentally sustainable umbrellas made from up-cycled ocean bound plastic.
07:03
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: The T.L. Hospitality Group | Taiye O. & Lola O.
The T.L. Hospitality Group: A Community for the Cultural Connoisseur.
08:15
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Wilminvest | Joel Amin
Wilminvest: Social impact real estate investment firm.
08:29
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: femPAQ Inc. | April Roy
femPAQ Inc.: We take the oops out of unexpected periods.
07:59
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: GetPotluck | Abu Kamara & Hope Vega
GetPotluck is an ethnic grocery delivery startup that partners with local ethnic grocers to deliver culture through food.
06:54
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: MINWO Inc. | Melanie Akwule
MINWO Inc. uses smart matching technology to connect VC Firms and Incubators to the communities of Black Founders we know exist, helping them move from one-time diversity outreach efforts to sustainable long term engagements.
07:13
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Better Puzzles LLC | Moises Velazquez
Better Puzzles LLC: Most puzzles you see are old and boring. We want to change that. Our team partners with professional artists to create fun puzzles that you actually want to build.
08:30
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Dendwell | Tenlie Mourning
Dendwell: Hypebeast for vintage furniture and home decor.
06:55
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Gratitude Griot LLC | Jewell Singletary
Gratitude Griot LLC is a well-being based business providing mindfulness services that focus on alleviating chronic stress and pain using yoga meditation and therapeutic arts.
05:51
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Goalden Hour | Karthy Chandra
Goalden Hour is an all-in-one life management tool that helps people make more time for their goals & good habits.
09:10
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Brothers Of Color | Luis Oquendo
Brothers of Color: A biweekly Mindset, Growth, and Brotherhood Podcast!
04:57
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Kiddie Kredit | Evan Leaphart
Kiddie Kredit is the first step in a financially free future, creating a responsible path to an individual's first credit card.
08:54
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: MARZ Enterprise | Jasmine C. Green
MARZ Enterprise is a modeling agency that re-imagines beauty by opening conversations with businesses on tokenism, ageism, sizeism, and systemic racism in advertising and marketing.
08:14
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Cinched Collections | Ashley Joyner
Cinched Collections is an e-commerce apparel line that is specifically curated and designed with curvy black and brown women in mind, including sizes S-5X!
07:03
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Wavlength | Oluwasanmi Ariyo
Wavlength is a fully-integrated platform that leverages the social equity of designers (UI/UX + Graphic) on social media to generate new leads and convert additional clients.
06:35
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Justine Parker | JusRédor Collection
JusRédor Collection (Pronounce: *Jus-Re-Dor*) is an athleisure clothing brand that is structured around our sustainable bamboo fibers and love; providing you with clothing that is better for our skin and better for the environment.
06:48
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Irma Mesa | Cafecito
Cafecito: A platform where we curate 1:1 coffee breaks for solo at home workers and team members to match, meet, and share knowledge.
09:17
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Latrenae' Collection | Amika Adams I
Latrenae' Collection: Online store eco-friendly handbag for heels that is stylish and can be used as a purse. You will be able the choose the strap you like as in handle, chain, or shoulder strap.
05:43
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Si · La · Bul | Danielle Allen
Si · La · Bul: TikTok built for language learning.
08:21
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: Backyard Gig | Suryanuj Gupta & Shahroze Ali
Backyard Gig is a two-sided marketplace that allows local households and small businesses the ability to outsource their everyday tasks to skilled and local college students in their area.
07:33
January 25, 2021
Podcast Pitch Competition: VPack for Women | Shannon Leon
VPack for Women is a subscription-box service that’s transforming the personal stigma and shame often associated with urinary and vaginal health. 
08:20
January 25, 2021
New Opportunity: $150k in Prizes from Startup302, Sponsored by Delaware Prosperity Partnership!
Startup 302 is a Delaware-based funding competition for technology-enabled startups led by underrepresented founders. Winners will receive prize money, access to mentors, and valuable connections. All technology-enabled startups, with at least one founding team member from an underrepresented group are welcomed to apply for consideration. Considering the profile of Delaware’s ecosystem, those working in bioscience, chemistry, advanced materials, agriculture, and financial & business services, and the up-and-coming e-sports industry are especially  encouraged to participate. The application deadline is FEBRUARY 12, 2021. LEARN MORE & APPLY HERE Additionally, you can learn more about Delaware Prosperity Partnership here.
05:20
January 13, 2021
REWIND: Meet Kemba Hall, founder of HairSense!
In this throwback episode, I caught up with my good friend and fellow founder, Kemba Hall! Kemba is a Cohort #1 graduate of the First Founder's Accelerator, and she came back to Delaware with a few updates on where she's at now in her startup journey. She founded HairSense to help women like her simplify their haircare experience.  "HairSense is an application using data-driven technology to simplify the haircare experience for curly women, while addressing the business needs of haircare lines and stylists. Finding compatible, styles, products, and services no longer have to be a burden for women. We're helping women pick out their next style the way they pick out their next outfit!" Keep up with Kemba & #HairSense by visiting hairsenseapp.com and following @hairsenseapp on instagram!
21:10
January 11, 2021
Meet Bryce Fender, cofounder of Wilminvest!
In this episode, I caught up with my friend Bryce Fender, cofounder of Wilminvest. Bryce and I were super hyped up since we were just recognized as the 'Delaware Business Times 40 Under 40' for 2019. I've known Bryce for a few years now, and he's never taken his foot off the gas when it comes to putting his passion for change to work.  Wilminvest is a supportive housing provider that provides affordable housing in the city of Wilmington Delaware. This social venture works with community healthcare organizations to provide housing to consumers experiencing substance abuse, mental illness and chronic veteran homelessness. Shortly after this interview, Wilminvest won $10,000 at the "Swim with the Sharks" pitch competition. Congrats fellas!!   We had a real talk about what it really means to be entrepreneurs and innovators, and I hope a piece of this interview resonates with you. Let me know what you think in the comments!
19:55
January 4, 2021
#Founder101 | How to Use the Lean Canvas to Test Business Ideas
Check out this audio from a breakdown of the Lean Canvas (Video Here). I wanted to break down this really useful tool for entrepreneurs of all stages. Everybody has ideas, right? Well I'm often asked, "How should I get started???"  I always recommend that entrepreneurs and aspiring founders begin outlining and testing their ideas with the Lean Canvas. It's a really useful tool for helping you break down your key assumptions before investing time and resources into developing your idea. Let me know if this was helpful!
17:03
November 7, 2020
Meet Kemba Hall, founder of HairSense!
In this episode, I caught up with my good friend and fellow founder, Kemba Hall! Kemba is a Cohort #1 graduate of the First Founder's Accelerator, and she came back to Delaware with a few updates on where she's at now in her startup journey. She founded HairSense to help women like her simplify their haircare experience.  "HairSense is your personalized curly hair companion - with a community of stylists, products, influencers, and the best solutions for your curly hair lifestyle."  Keep up with Kemba & HairSense by visiting hairsenseapp.com and following @hairsenseapp on instagram!
20:04
October 23, 2020
Mentor Session | Investing in Early-Stage Tech w/ Denisha Kuhlor from Grasshopper Bank
Hey listeners check out this throwback to earlier this year when Denisha Kuhlor hosted a mentor session with our accelerator participants! Denisha joined Grasshopper Bank in 2019 and is a relationship manager in the early stage practice. Prior to joining Grasshopper Bank, Denisha worked at Silicon Valley Bank focused on founders in New York. Denisha is first-generation Ghanaian American and writes a weekly newsletter on artist/fan relationships called Stan. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with our community of founders, Denisha! Reminder: The Inclusive Startup Accelerator operates from October 24th through December 5th, 2020. Participants will gain automatic entry to a $10,000 Pitch Competition in January of 2021! Apply by Oct. 16th by 11:59pm ET at firstfounders.org!
01:01:57
October 13, 2020
Mentor Session | Developing Founder Mental Wealth w/ Anthony Ware, Founder of AWare Catalysts
Anthony Ware grew up as a latchkey kid from Indianapolis where he and his two younger brothers were raised by their dad. His first gig was cleaning toilets for his dad's janitorial business. Anthony jumped from the corporate ladder to launch startups. He ignored his scarcity mentality until it broke him in November 2010, he had to live in a car in New Orleans after his third startup failed. Two months later, thanks to mentors and yoga teacher training, Anthony was a phoenix. Ten years later, Anthony’s businesses help underestimated startup founders use their mental wealth and company culture to leapfrog business norms, and create new generational wealth. AWare Catalysts helps underestimated founders (People of Color, Women, LGBTQIA) create scalable, positive impact on their people and bottom line through mental wealth, culture, empathy and self-awareness. The 2019 Founder Mental Wealth Report, Vol. 1 is the inaugural research study for underestimated startup founders in the UK and US. This is a first step to reverse the negative generational impact of mental illness and social injustice, and increase generational mental wealth to complement the generational financial wealth currently being created. Founders can use these to identify practices to help them create or refine their mental wealth based on our peers with similar backgrounds. Reminder: The Inclusive Startup Accelerator operates from October 24th through December 5th, 2020. Participants will gain automatic entry to a $10,000 Pitch Competition in January of 2021! Apply by Oct. 16th by 11:59pm EST at firstfounders.org!
59:07
October 8, 2020
Join Our New Accelerator & $10,000 Pitch Competition!
The Inclusive Startup Accelerator operates from October 24th through December 5th, 2020. Participants will gain automatic entry to a $10,000 Pitch Competition in January of 2021! Our 6-week program aims to accelerate the development of underrepresented founders, and a community of diverse founders developing scalable solutions. The program will be focused on setting measurable goals, gaining meaningful traction, and building a supportive community of entrepreneurs. Thank you to our pitch competition sponsor, Delaware Prosperity Partnership. If you identify as an individual from an underrepresented group, or if you'd like to empower & support those groups, you're in the right place! We aim to create a diversity of ways to participate so that everyone has a sense of belonging. Our program consists on Saturday Education Sessions, Office Hours on weekday evenings, and a Community of Founders supporting one another. This program will be focused on setting measurable goals, gaining meaningful traction, and building a supportive community of entrepreneurs. Interested participants should at least have a startup idea or be in the early stages of their startup's development. Applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis. If you’re interested in supporting our diverse community of founders, please support by following our new podcast, subscribing to our newsletter, and contacting us to make a tax-deductible donation. Additionally, we’d love to partner with support organizations, venture capital firms, and experienced entrepreneurs invested in the development of early-stage founders. Applications to the Inclusive Startup Accelerator are due on Oct. 16th by 11:59pm EST
05:11
October 7, 2020
New Opportunities! October Application Deadlines...
Check out these awesome new opportunities from REVOLT Summit, The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, and BLCK VC!
08:17
October 2, 2020