CHICAGO — Convenience-store retailer and delivery service Foxtrot has revealed that its second annual Up & Comers awards will honor women-owned brands and aim to find makers ready to take the next step in entrepreneurship. Winners’ productswill join Foxtrot’s shelves and receive donations from the retailer.
“We’re committed to making our shelves reflect the customers we serve and continuing to support small makers everywhere,” said Carla Dunham, chief marketing officer at Foxtrot. “Up & Comers is designed to open the door for the countless entrepreneurs, and specifically women and [Black, Indigenous, and people of color] BIPOC-founded brands, who don't have access to the resources to grow their business. We're excited about the growth we have ahead as a company, and we want to use our momentum to support these talented makers.”
In 2021, 900 local businesses submitted applications, and as a result, 35 brands joined Foxtrot’s shelves including small companies such as Omsom, Mumgry, Ruby, DEUX and local favorites like Mott St. and Momo Shack Dumplings, all of which continue to lead their respective categories.
Of the 2021 award applicants, only 10% were businesses run by women; however, women-led brands accounted for half of the finalists. While Foxtrot currently carries 100 women-owned brands—a total of 450 SKUs—the c-store has a goal of increasing the number of female-founded brands on its shelves by 50% this year. Foxtrot is aiming to drive a larger narrative on the responsibility of the industry to uplift women, especially because female-founded and co-founded startups have a higher success rate according to research cited by the retailer.
Through April 4, owners can apply to the Up & Comers Awards. All brands are encouraged to apply, but Foxtrot will award two prizes exclusively to female-run businesses—the Hero Winner and Cherry Bombe's Women in Food Award.
Foxtrot is alsodonating $200,000 in funding and marketing support to winners and will feature winning brands on shelves for at least one business quarter. The Hero Winner will also receive $25,000 to be put towards the business, along with $45,000 in marketing support. They will additionally receive a mentorship session with three judges. Category Winners will receive $5,000 of business support and $20,000 in marketing support.
There will be six total winners, all of which will be sold at Foxtrot for at least one business quarter, breaking down to one Hero Winner and five Category Winners:
- Ingredient Innovation
- Cherry Bombe's Women in Food Award
- Just Damn Good
- Classic Product Reimagined
- Fan Favorite (voted on via Foxtrot’s website)
Foxtrot operates 18 stores in Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Virginia and will make its debut in Austin, Texas this year.
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