Unity Journalists for Diversity has selected 11 owners of media startups for its 2013 NewU Startup Competition. The finalists posted video pitches for their companies on unityjournalists.org for the chance to win one of two $20,000 seed grants. The four finalists who are members of NABJ talk about their companies and how the grant will help take them to the next level:
Kathy Times is the co-founder of the website Wheretogo411.com, a site that is basically the Yellowpages.com for the African American community. Times, a former NABJ president, says her site is designed to provide African American businesses and consumers with a way to connect. “It really is a strategy for improving the lives of African American business owners as well as urban communities and African American communities around the country,” Times says. “We wanted to design a site that would make it easy for major buyers as well as consumers to do business with African American businesses. The NewU funding is so important because we need to build our awareness of what we’re doing. We anticipate launching a national campaign to make sure business owners are aware of the site and they know they can put their business on the site.”
Marissa Evans founded the online health magazine InHue, a magazine that focuses on the health needs of women of color. Evans was inspired to create InHue as a means of giving women of color a voice when it comes to health issues. “I started InHue because other general women health magazines were not adequately covering racial health disparity issues” she said. “Too often, I felt that women of color were put in women’s health articles as an afterthought. I started InHue to give women [of color] a “go to” health magazine that they could relate to and that was really made for them through and through.” If she wins, Evans plans to use the grant money to improve InHue’s website and sponsor women’s health events.
Ariana Proehl founded the online media network Know This! TV in 2011 because she was fed up with seeing the negative stereotypes of Black women on reality television. Proehl took the network’s signature program, Know This! with Ariana, out on a 14-city tour, Proehl found that there is an audience for positive media. “I started my online talk show because I knew that we could do better as people of color; in particular, women of color.”Her show features people in politics, entertainment, business, fashion music and other fields. “The common thread of folks that I feature on my show is that they live their purpose and not so much money or fame.”Proehl envisions her website becoming similar to Oprah.com in that it will feature her talk show as well as original programming. “[With the grant], I’m looking to continue my talk show and develop and fund the production of other original show ideas that would be moving along in that same thread of just diving deeper into inspiration resources.”
Eunice Cofie founded EthnicDermMedia, a multimedia company that provides skin health information to people of color. “EthnicDermMedia develops campaigns for departments of health and create mobile platforms for consumers” Cofie says. “It’s a technology-based multimedia company that educates the consumer and also trains dermatologists and other skin professionals about ethnic skin because there’s not a lot of information out there about ethnic skin.” Cofie plans to use the grant money to continue developing her platform as a space for science and medical journalists to get information about ethnic skin out to the public. “We want to bridge the gap between dermatologists and consumers and provide the consumer with information about ethnic skin diseases, treatment and empower them to know about the skin they’re in.”
Voting for the 2013 NewU Startup Competition ends on Friday, November 29th at midnight. So vote here now!