YBI’s Women in Entrepreneurship awards $5K to Genevieve’s Kitchen

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Business Incubator’s Women in Entrepreneurship (WE) program graduated 18 women Wednesday and awarded two grants after a pitch competition.

Genevieve Bodnar of Genevieve’s Kitchen won the $5,000 WE Launch Grant. Genevieve’s Kitchen is an ancient grain baked goods company.

Juanita Thompson, owner of Mila’s Events LLC, won the $1,000 Community Impact Grant. Mila’s Events is an event-management company. Thompson also runs the Little Miss Inner Beauty nonprofit, a previous WE Create winner.

Fourteen pitches were judged by three guest judges: Donna Walsh, senior lecturer and former director of entrepreneurship at Youngstown State University’s Williamson College of Business Administration; Barbara Hierro, director of business development at Serenity Center; and Terry Louk, loan officer with Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp.

WE Launch is the second phase of WE’s three-part business accelerator for female entrepreneurs.

“This WE Launch class has been amazing. These women have shown so much growth and development since the beginning of this 10-week program,” said Carmella Williams, director of diversity and inclusion. “We are thrilled for our winners. Genevieve is a great woman with some solid products. This is only the beginning!”

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