TODAY: 25 Black-owned businesses compete for Magic City Match funding

Magic City Match business owners
Magic City Match aims to provide Black-owned businesses with capital. (Joi Jackson)

The 25 Black business owners who are part of the inaugural Magic City Match cohort will compete in a live pitch event today, June 17, 2022. The top 13 owners will win $450,000 in combined funding for their businesses.

What is Magic City Match?

Magic City Match business owners in a lecture as a part of their business academy program
Participants in Magic City Match completed an eight week business academy program. (Joi Jackson)

This is the first year of Magic City Match, a grant program funded by Prosper and presented by REV Birmingham, IGNITE! Alabama and Urban Impact, Inc. Magic City Match was designed to provide Black business owners with access to capital, new market opportunities and the tools necessary to increase business competency. Over 800 businesses applied to be part of the program and a committee was tasked with narrowing the pool down to 25 who would make up the cohort. Now, those 25 business owners will compete for 13 available grants.

How Magic City Match is making a difference

Magic City Match business owners
Over 800 businesses applied to be part of the inaugural Magic City Match cohort and only 25 were selected. (Joi Jackson)

Bham Now talked to Torin Brazzle, Executive Director of IGNITE! Alabama about why Magic City Match is a breakthrough for Black-owned businesses in Birmingham.

“Magic City Match represents what we have been working towards for the past four years. When we first entered the space we thought the issue was simply a disconnect as it relates to communication. So, we put together a step-by-step plan to help Black business owners learn the skills necessary to become successful. But once we did that, we were still hitting a brick wall. Black business owners were still not gaining access to capital. Magic City Match exploded that brick wall. It gives these black business owners the opportunity to really be able to gain non diluted funding that they can use to help their businesses grow or scale.”

– Torin Brazzle, Executive Director of IGNITE! Alabama

Magic City Match not only helps Black business owners learn the actual skills necessary to be successful but also aims at knocking down institutional financial barriers to Black success.

More info on today’s pitch event

Magic City Match business owners
Business owners got to connect with one another as well. (Joi Jackson)

The pitch event today is part of programming for a business expo called Igniting Possibilities. The expo is meant to highlight and connect Black businesses and is happening today, June 17 from 4PM-7PM at Homewood Church of Christ. The event is also streaming live on Facebook. The exact grants up for grabs are as follows:

  • ten grants for up to $25,000
  • two grants for up to $50,000
  • one for up to $100,000.

The expo also marks the completion of an eight-week business academy program for the 25 businesses in the Magic City Match cohort. They each received $2,000 upon graduation from the academy, which was led by Dr. Alice Gordon Holloway, CEO of Skye Connect.

“Each and every business owner in this cohort has put in the time and dedication, and picked up tools along the way to help enhance their businesses. It is our hope that the grant awards will help the business owners not only expand into real estate here in Birmingham, but also strengthen the growing business ecosystem and pave the way for more Black business owners.”

– Ivan Holloway, Executive Director of Urban Impact

Meet the businesses in Magic City Match

The businesses competing today are listed:

  • Cameron Crummie, MDV
  • Aurelia Davis, Salon Textures
  • Reginald Davis
  • LaTisha Fletcher, Sankofa Ventures
  • Greg & Cynthia Gratton, Green Acres Cafe Downtown
  • Carl Green, Kloud 9
  • Joi Iman Gresham, Joi Iman
  • Alisha Jiwani, Nia Benefit Corporation
  • Jay Johnson, Johnson Media Group, Inc. DBA: College Prep U
  • LaToya Jolly, Jolly Cakes
  • Wanda & Eugene Jones, Talk of the Town Barbershop
  • Alexis Kimbrough, Herban Soul Café
  • Tangy King-Essex, Squeaky Clean Cleaning Company
  • Matthew Mayes, Matthew Mayes Art
  • Martrell McGinnis, Rid-A-Bug Pest Control and Termite
  • Heather Skanes, Oasis Family Birthing Center
  • Ursula Smith, Ursula Smith Dance
  • Tiffany Storey, Storeyhouse Counseling & Consulting
  • Theuda Tusajiwe, N’mosa Fabrics
  • Jon Westbrook, Stez Eats
  • Andre Williams, MADD Studios
  • Lavoris Williams, L Williams and Associates
  • Corey Whatley, Woodlawn Bar & Lounge
  • Krystal White, Properties and Pipelines
  • Dexter Young Jr., Henley & Young

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Lily Plowden
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