Two student-born startups recently walked away with $5,000 at the Holy Cross College annual Shark Tank event, money that will help them continue to expand upon their ideas.
One was Phoenix Haberdashery, an enterprise that hires recently resettled refugees living in Worcester to create reversible neck ties and helping them build a new life. The company last November raised over $16,000 through a KickStarter campaign.
“Winning the competition was an honor, and it’s a reminder for me to keep working towards fulfilling the mission of Phoenix Haberdashery, because the judges clearly believed in that mission,” Riley Benner, founder of Phoenix Haberdashery told The Buzz. “It’s a wonderful affirmation of the hard work that my team and I have been putting in for the past six months, and we’re excited to use the money we received to further that mission.”
The other winner was Redefining Black Masculinity, an online outreach platform addressing and shaping the public perception of black masculinity in America.
“Hearing some people go before me almost disuaded me from giving my pitch, but once those jitters settled, it served as additional fuel for my fire,” Dillon Carmichael, founder of Redefining Black Masculinity, said following the event. “It’s competitive, but a healthy competitive because it comes from a place of genuine passion. Winning still comes as a surprise, but I am beyond grateful that I did and had the opportunity to share my idea with everyone at the event.”
Both companies plan to use the money to build brand awareness, as well as increase outreach and production.