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New Black Owned Syrup

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Sales Spike For 1st Black Woman-Owned Syrup Brand After Aunt Jemima Gets Removed From Shelves

Meet Michele Hoskins, founder of Michele Foods Inc., a multi-million dollar business whose products are sold in more than 10,000 stores nationwide. Her line of syrup products has recently seen a huge increase in sales since the owners of Aunt Jemima decided to pull its racist brand from grocery store shelves.

in 1984. That same year, Michele secured the top two largest retail chains in the Chicagoland area, which took her out of the basement and into 400 retail chains. She went on to become the first minority supplier for Denny’s, the first minority supplier for Walmart, and over the years she has partnered with some of the most respected food companies in the world – General Mills and Sara Lee.

Michele laughs when she recalls her early struggles and countless mistakes. She overcame incredible odds to turn this family secret into a formula for success. She comments, “There were no mentors for an African American female entrepreneur in the food industry in those days. I had to learn from my mistakes. Had I not been naïve, I may not have started this journey. All I had going for me was my goal and a commitment to making it work.”

Today, her products can be found in the top retail chains, more than 8,000 stores nationwide, including Kroger, Albertson’s, Jewel Foods, Publix, Safeway and more. The recipe that started it all is known as Michele’s Honey Crème Syrup, a rich, creamy confection made with honey, cream, and butter.

In addition to the original Honey Crème, her products are also available in Butter Pecan and Maple Crème flavors. These days the syrups are more than just for waffles and pancakes, they are used by cooks as condiments and in sweet and savory dishes.

Learn more at MicheleFoods.com or follow the brand on Instagram @michelesyrup

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Online Tool Helps in Finding Grants and Tax Incentives

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Black-owned fintech and finance company Novae LLC announced the launch of a new online tool designed to help small businesses to find grants and tax incentives that can help them to grow exponentially.

Called Novae Grants, the new tool will allow users to search a database of thousands of financial assistance opportunities from both the government and the private sector. Tax credits that small businesses may qualify for will also be included in the database.

Novae founder Reco McCambry says that the grants his team is gathering for inclusion in the database range from $500 to $5 million in size, and are designed to help business owners serve their communities. The grants include town- and city-based grants to revitalize local businesses and create jobs, and federal and think tank grants to support renewable energy, tech, and innovation.

“The idea is to make it as easy as possible for small businesses to locate the support they need to grow,” McCambry says. “Whether you’re a mom and pop shop or a good-sized startup, you may be doing something that one of these agencies wants to promote for the sake of the public good.”

McCambry notes that most of the grants which have so far been located and placed in the Novae Grants database are intended for small businesses with 6-100 employees, though some are also intended for larger businesses and sole proprietor startups.

“We know that local businesses make us more secure,” McCambry told me in our interview, “and we know that innovation often comes from startups. There are a lot of organizations that recognize this and offer funding to support these missions. But not many people know how to find these grants, and many assume they won’t qualify because they aren’t in some specialized public service role. Our mission is to change that and bring this money into our communities.”

The Novae Grants search engine is now available at novaemoney.com. In addition to grants, Novae also helps companies build business credit, provides access to traditional business funding, and offers businesses the ability to provide consumer financing for their high-ticket offerings.

Novae and CEO McCambry’s mission to increase access to financing for businesses and customers in underserved communities has helped the company and its CEO to earn numerous awards and distinctions in recent years. Novae has been included on the Inc 5000 list of the 5000 fastest-growing businesses in America for two years running, while McCambry was recently named Innovator of the Year at the annual Bank Customer Experience Summit and received an Outstanding Leadership Award at Money2.0 this Spring.

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Cullen/Frost announces election of Joseph A. Pierce

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Joseph A. Pierce has been elected to the board of directors of Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. He has joined the board’s Corporate Governance and Nominating, Compensation and Benefits, and Technology committees.

Cullen/Frost Chairman and CEO Phil Green said, “(Pierce’s) legal, financial services and marketing expertise will be very useful as we pursue our organic growth strategy, and he is a great match for the Frost philosophy and our core values of integrity, caring and excellence.”
Headquartered in San Antonio, Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. is a financial holding company with $51.8 billion in assets as of June 30, 2022. Founded in 1868, Frost has helped clients with their financial needs for three centuries.

Pierce is the senior vice president and general counsel of AMB Sports and Entertainment at The Blank Family of Businesses. In that role, he counsels and advises across all areas of the organization, including the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United and the PGA Tour Superstores. Previously Pierce held positions including senior vice president and chief legal officer at Hornets Sports and Entertainment, overseeing legal and business administration for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. He has also served as senior vice president and associate general counsel of global marketing and corporate affairs at Bank of America, Comcast Sports Television Group, and Jacksonville Jaguars Ltd.
Pierce holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Georgetown University, and dual Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees from the Wharton School of Business and University of Pennsylvania Law School.

While he lives in Atlanta, he grew up in San Antonio and is very familiar with Frost.
“My family banked with Frost, and that’s how I knew of the bank’s customer service and the impact of Frost family in the community,” Pierce said.

In a 2018 NBA article on Pierce, he told the story about one of his track teammates, Ray Humphrey, who was a role model for him in juggling athletics and getting a law degree at the same time. Pierce said he used many of his experiences as a collegiate athlete to help him in his career and education.

He also shared in that same article that three of his four grandparents had doctorate degrees, which is not typical in many families but unusual in African-American families at that time. They all taught at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and were influential role models in his life.
“Growing up, I saw the impact of what education was able to do for them in their own lives, but more importantly, I saw the impact they could make with their own students that they taught. Going through life and meeting people that were students of my grandparents was great to see and really showed a lesson that it’s important to give back and make sure you do what you can to help other people grow,” Pierce said in the NBA article.

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City of San Antonio to Launch $500,000 Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program to Grow Local Small Businesses

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In the ongoing effort to support local small businesses, this week the City of San Antonio Economic Development Department, and the San Antonio Economic Development Corporation (SAEDC) launched the Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program administered in partnership with Alamo Surety Bonds.

This program will provide surety and bond assistance to eligible local small, minority, and woman-owned businesses seeking City construction contracts. This assistance is designed to establish, enhance, and increase the program participant’s bonding capabilities and capacity, which should lead to an increase in the number and size of City construction contracts they are both bidding on and awarded.
 
Eligible program participants will be provided a tailored needs assessment that includes educational, technical, and financial literacy components for success. In addition, program participants will be provided one-on-one bonding counseling, project support if awarded a City contract, and access to a $500,000 revolving pool of funds for those in need of assistance to cover costs related to City bonding requirements in order to bid on a City solicitation.
 
For more information on how to apply for the City of San Antonio Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program, visit www.sanantonio.gov/edd or call program administrators, Alamo Surety Bonds, at (210) 930-5550 or email at Jim@alamobonds.com.  

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