PLANO, TEXAS — Frito-Lay unveiled the 10 finalists in PepsiCo’s inaugural WomanMade initiative, which aims to advance female-founded start-ups in the food and beverage industry.
The entrepreneurs will pitch their business plans in a live, rapid-fire format to industry experts for a chance to win $100,000 in business grants. The challenge will take place at Natural Products Expo West on Friday, March 6, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Marriott Marquis Northwest ballroom. It is open to any credentialed attendees who want to learn more about the finalists’ businesses, all of which have $500,000 in annual revenue. The 10 finalists are:
- Sashee Chandran: founder of Tea Drops, which makes organic shaped, instantly dissolvable teas that generate 20% less waste than traditional tea packaging.
- Nydia Shipman: co-founder of The Worthy Co., a plant-based snack bowl featuring vegetables, fruits, legumes and chia.
- Kate Flynn: co-founder of Sun & Swell Foods, maker of better-for-you energy snack bites, clean cookies, trail mixes and crackers.
- Jessica Levison: founder of Peekaboo Ice Cream, an indulgent ice cream dessert with hidden, tasteless vegetables.
- Cecilia Panichelli: founder of Cocina 54, which sells empanadas made from fresh vegetables and antibiotic-free meats.
- Brooke Rewa, founder of Goodmylk, a company that makes plant-based milks without the use of binders, gums, fillers or preservatives.
- Rana Lustyan: founder of Edoughble, a small-batch, safe to eat cookie dough brand.
- Allison DeVane: founder of Teaspressa, an organic tea that packs the same caffeine content as espresso.
- Katie Jesionowski: founder of My SuperFoods, maker of nutrient-rich kids snacks containing ingredients like acai and baobab.
- Jill Robbins: founder of Homefree, an environmentally and allergen-friendly treats company.
“We were blown away by the 100+ submissions we received for our inaugural WomanMade challenge, and while it was difficult to narrow down the outstanding work being done by women in the food and beverage industry, the 10 women we’ve selected as finalists are so deserving of the recognition,” said Ciara Dilley, vice-president of Transform Brands and Portfolio Innovation at Frito-Lay. “Dedicated to championing diversity and inclusion, our entire WomanMade team is proud to do our part in providing much-needed support to female founders as they scale their businesses. We’re honored to highlight these women as they continue to be a driving force in our industry.”
Each of the finalists will have five minutes to present their business plans, followed by a up to five minutes of questions. The judging panel will be comprised of both PepsiCo executives and entrepreneurs, including Jen Saenz, president of global foods at PepsiCo; Ms. Dilley; Lisa Lillien, author and founder of healthy lifestyle website hungrygirl.com; Shane Emmett, co-founder of Health Warrior, Inc.; and Hannah Hong, co-founder of Hakuna Brands.