CAMELBACK VENTURES HOSTED ‘RUTHLESS PITCHES’ LOCAL ECONOMIES COMPETITION 

FOR NEW ORLEANS-BASED ENTREPRENEURS COMPETING FOR $20K INVESTMENT

Winner of Pitch Competition GovLia Received $20,000 Camelback Ventures’ Investment 

NEW ORLEANS – (December 9, 2020) – On Tuesday, December 8, 2020,  Camelback Ventures (CBV) hosted its Ruthless Pitches Local Economies Competition powered by JP Morgan Chase, Entergy, and Capital One. The virtual event featured five entrepreneurs and their four ventures as part of the culmination to Camelback’s Local Economies Fellowship. The winner Shakeia Kegler, founder of GovLia will receive a $20,000 investment from the national accelerator to support her conscious tech venture. The other founders who competed will also each receive an additional $5,000 CBV investment.

“I’m extremely grateful to be a part of the Camelback Fam and being given the opportunity to share the vision of GovLia. It means so much to have a community of people who truly want to see us succeed – who are providing you with the tools, resources, and relationships we need as BIPOC founders,” said CBV Ruthless Pitches winner Shakeia Kegler. “In a normal economic climate, it’s hard for founders of color to gain access to capital and this pandemic has added another layer of complexity to the mix. That is exactly why the work Camelback is doing is essential for our businesses and our communities.”

The entrepreneurs who competed in the pitch competition included Charon Flowers Maple and Spencer Davis of Bypass Lines; Greg Harris of Meusu; Myra Barnes of Dollar Pot; and Shakeia Kegler of GovLia. These founders represent CBV’s 2020 Local Economies Fellows who have pivoted and re envisioned their ventures due to the mounting challenges of the past year including continued racial injustice, COVID-19, and the national recession. They have not given up in the face of adversity, and Camelback Ventures applauds them for their perseverance, passion, and unwavering drive. 

“We are clearly seeing that local business owners are struggling to keep their doors open in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions it continues to place on consumer movement and employment opportunities,” said CBV Founder/CEO Aaron Walker. “COVID-19 is also hitting minority business owners the hardest. We have a serious problem and CBV continues to find equitable solutions.”

A recent report published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that minority-owned small businesses are disproportionately hit hard by the pandemic; another report by the National Bureau of Economic research also revealed that the number of Black business owners plummeted from 1.1 million in February 2020 to 640,000 in April 2020.

Camelback Ventures’ intensive Local Economies Fellowship provides BIPOC and women entrepreneurs with free coaching, capital, and access to professional connections through virtual workshops to better grow their businesses and navigate the COVID-19 economic downturn. All of these conscious tech companies seek to solve a number of societal needs: small business inclusion, safe access to local businesses in light of the pandemic, and financial literacy services.

“During these unprecedented times, local economies need innovative businesses. And, that is what we’ve found in our Fellows. I am amazed by the level of resilience and genius demonstrated by our 2020 Fellows. We are lucky to have them as part of our New Orleans economy,” said CBV Program Director Nadiyah Morris.

To learn more about the Camelback Ventures Fellowship which empowers BIPOC and women entrepreneurs click here.