CIT And Operation HOPE Announce First Group Of Launch + Grow Business Plan Winners - Lioness Magazine
Launch + Grow business plan competition first place winner Adriane Mack (center) pictured with judges Stephanie Ruhle, Joe Kernen, Ellen R. Alemany, Toya Williford and Operation HOPE’s Mary Erhsam.
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CIT And Operation HOPE Announce First Group Of Launch + Grow Business Plan Winners

NEW YORK — CIT Group Inc. and Operation HOPE recently announced the winners of its Launch + Grow Business Plan competition. The event culminates the first year of the Launch + Grow initiative, an ongoing program to empower local women small business owners in New York City and Los Angeles.

Six of the recent New York graduates of the 12-week training program presented their business concepts Monday night to a panel of executive-level judges. First place winner, Adriane Mack received a $5,000 award to support her business Miss Mack Enterprises. Ayme Sinclair, owner of Sinclair Social received a second place prize of $3,500 and Natasha Gayle owner of Mirror Mirror Skin Lab received the third place prize of $1,500.

“Our brand is about turning ideas into outcomes and we’re thrilled to conclude the first year of our Launch + Grow program by helping these women take their businesses to the next level,” said CIT Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Gina Proia. “We’re proud of all the graduates and look forward to seeing how their business concepts come to fruition over the coming months.”

“Launch + Grow empowers women entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools they need to create thriving enterprises,” said Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman, and CEO, John Hope Bryant. “Our competition provided the ideal opportunity for graduates to bring together the skills they learned and present their best ideas to the judges.”

The panel of judges included CIT Chairwoman and CEO Ellen R. Alemany, Co-Anchor of CNBC’s Squawk Box Joe Kernen, Co-Founder and CEO of Lafayette 148 Deirdre Quinn, MSNBC Live Anchor and NBC News Correspondent Stephanie Ruhle, and Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Toya Williford.

The Launch + Grow program kicked off this past spring and includes a 12-weeks of training classes and in-person workshops for women entrepreneurs in New York City and Los Angeles. Launch + Grow is unique in that it brings CIT banking experts into the HOPE Inside training program, a no-cost financial education curriculum for small business owners. By the end of 2020, the program will provide over 400 women the tools and resources they need to cultivate their small businesses.

In addition to CIT, New York program partners include Mastercard, the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation, and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. More information can be found at www.cit.com//launch-grow or by engaging on social media by following #LaunchAndGrow.