Merchant Maverick, whose mission is "Small Business Made Easy", opened up its inaugural grant program to Black Female Entrepreneurs, due to current research highlighting black females are underfunded and underrepresented, when it comes to resource allocation for small businesses.
In May 2021, Merchant Maverick announced that POKS Spices was selected as one of the four winners of its Inaugural Opportunity Grant for Black Female Entrepreneurs. Per Julie Titterington, Editor in Chief at Merchant Maverick, "we’ve spent the last few months pouring over more than 2,000 applications from businesses throughout the United States. The quality of the applicant pool was astounding, and the need for funding almost universal thanks to COVID-19 restrictions nationwide. The applicants represented dozens of industries, from retail and restaurant to hospitality, beauty, the medical field, law, mental health, and beyond. Every woman who applied told a unique story and made a compelling case for why her business deserved a grant. It was not an easy decision." Read more about this grant win and about Merchant Maverick here.
As part of the grant win, our founder Abena, chatted with Julie about the POKS Spices Story, West African foods and flavors, and what led Abena to develop a CPG product showcasing bold West African flavors for the American audience. They also discussed the importance of having a mentor in the entrepreneurial journey, and the role a strong community plays in enhancing that journey. Read more about her conversation with Julie and who received the first prototype of POKS West African Seasonings here.