Black Girl Magic Takes Top Prize at Pitch Competition

From experiences for people to products for bulldogs, six founders in The DEC’s “Your Level Up” cohort competed for the top three spots, which came with cash prizes—and a chance to make an impression on other founders and potential investors. 

Each founder had five minutes and could use up to 10 slides to achieve three objectives: talk about themselves, give an overview of their team, and share their financial projections.  

One of the people in the audience at the Entrepreneur Center in Red Bird was Freddie Harris, who started Giza Printing in Deep Ellum. He says The DEC Network, which provides tools and resources to entrepreneurs in Southern Dallas County, serves a critical need.

“The cool thing about this program and a lot of the programs that come here is that it covers a lot of the details that new entrepreneurs might miss,” Harris said. After all, having a great idea and successfully running a business requires different skills.  

The “Your Level Up” cohort ran for eight weeks and included 13 participants, six of whom were chosen for pitch night on November 3. Dominique Hamilton, founder of the Black Girl Magic Museum, and Seun Olubodun, founder of Duke & Winston, were the first and second-place winners. They go on to “the big pitch” on November 17 at 6 pm.  

Winners’ circle

Dominique Hamilton

$20 thousand dollar winner
Black Girl Magic Museum 

An immersive experience of social media, food, and culture. For example, learn about Loula Williams and Black Wall Street. 

Program takeaways include learning customer acquisition costs and figuring out her target market. 

“I know it says Black Girl Magic Museum, but I want all girls to know that we are the future. If you can see it, you will believe it and you can achieve it.” 

Seun Olubodun

$15 thousand dollar winner 
Duke & Winston 

For bulldogs and their huge fan base—one of the most popular dog breeds globally and frequently used by colleges as mascots. 

Program takeaways include learning how to put an effective pitch together and confidently approach investors. 

“I figured I would do something that I really cared about and even though it’s really niche market it’s big enough for me to build a good brand.”

Amanda Lewis

$10 thousand dollar winner 

An oral health care company that aims to make it something you want to do—and not just think of it as something you should do. 

Program takeaways include how to do effective marketing outreach and evolve the company from direct to consumer, to wholesale. 

“I’m a dentist by day, and a CEO by night. I have my own office here in Dallas and I employ three wonderful women who help me run it, which allows me to do this on the side.” 

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R E A D   N E X T

  • Dallas' Boss Women Media and Capital One are presenting the fourth consecutive Black Girl Magic Digital Summit. This year they aim to reach more entrepreneurs than ever before by premiering the pre-recorded event on Amazon's Prime Video. The summit will feature 26 founders, CEOs, and executives with advice on how to turn your side hustle into a main hustle, and much more. From a $100K pitch competition (apply by August 12!) and live watch parties across the U.S., get ready for the magic.

  • Women entrepreneurs—especially those in the tech world—have something to keep them warm at home Thursday during tomorrow's winter storm: The DEC Network’s inaugural, all-virtual Women X Tech event, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is designed to help women founders from all tech industries connect, learn, and grow their businesses.

  • The DEC Network, in partnership with Charles Schwab, is putting out a call for founders of color to apply for its BIG IDEA DALLAS cohort by May 16. It calls the seven-week program a "pre-step" in a founder's journey.

  • The fourth annual Black Girl Magic Summit—presented by Dallas-based Boss Women Media and Capital One—was released as a video experience on Amazon's Prime Video Saturday. Here's a look at the winners of its pitch competition, from a Creole fusion-inspired founder to moms who actually get real about motherhood to a woman who's juicing her way to success. The winners had lots of competition. This year's contest had 10,033 entrants nationwide—almost double the number from 2021.

  • Tarsha Hearns, the former director of LiftFund DFW, has been hired by The DEC Network as its senior director of the Southern Dallas ecosystem. “I really see this role being a face of the small business community in the southern sector, being someone who is going to be a voice, an advocate, and ensure that entrepreneurs get access to the resources that they need,” Hearns told Dallas Innovates.