Virtual Black Business Pitch Competition


The LA Black Investors Club and Sip & Sonder host this quarterly competition.

The LA Standard Newspaper needs your support so we can continue to write positive stories about black communities. -Jason Douglas Lewis, Owner / Editor Shanita Nicholas and Amanda-Jane Thomas, co-owners of Sip & Sonder.

From Megan Reed

Shanita Nicholas and Amanda-Jane Thomas have made positive contributions to Inglewood and South Los Angeles since moving to the area from New York City. The two lawyers founded Café Sip & Sonder in Inglewood and the LA Black Investors Club (LABIC). On March 18th they will host the next Black Business Pitch competition. The event usually takes place at Sip & Sonder, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition will be held online.

This type of event is in line with the Sip & Sonder mantra: “For the community, for the culture”.

The mission of LABIC, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, is to inform, share, and promote the development of entrepreneurial ventures by serving as a conduit for business creation, capitalization, and capacity building for diverse communities. Through programming, LABIC seeks to address the lack of access and contact to resources, knowledge, investors, mentors, partners and customers in the community in order to create a framework for the creation of individual and collective wealth.

“For us, this means having access to resources, access to capital and access to a network,” said Nicholas.

Nicholas and Thomas knew many small business owners before they embarked on this effort, but they found that these business owners did not have the resources to grow. The business owners lacked capital and other vital resources.

“There is a lot of innovation in our own communities,” said Thomas. “The problem is that the resources don’t exist. the access to mentors, partners, clients, clients, and colleagues that these companies actually need to refine their business ideas, to get their businesses off the ground, and then the ongoing support they need to be successful. “

The LABIC organizes the Black Business Pitch Competition every quarter. At this event, which was launched in 2017, entrepreneurs submit their business plans and approximately 10 entrepreneurs are selected to present their business ideas to a panel of judges, who are typically venture capitalists and business owners.

“The goal is for this to serve as a launch pad for the entrepreneurs,” said Thomas. “Not just for the winners. Everyone who enters contests experiences the process of actually putting their business idea up and placing it in front of a group of experts, and then going through a rigorous Q&A session. That is something of value. “

Entrepreneurs can get valuable feedback on their idea, pitch and business plan. This is the first time that many competitors have pitched a business.

African Americans pursue other races in almost every business category, and other races do a lot of business in black communities. Black dollars don’t stay in black communities very long, and business owners who come from outside the community may not have the best interest of the community and the focus on people, so it is important that black people own businesses in their own communities.

“There’s an inherent tendency when a person is running their business,” said Nicholas. “When community owners look like people in the community, there is still a tendency, but the tendency is toward the community and what is needed in that particular setting.”

For more information on how to enter the competition or to view it online, please visit and follow them on Instagram. Sip & Sonder is located at 108 S. Market Street. Visit their website at and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.