Urban League of Louisiana Announces Winner of the 2017 Women-in-Business Challenge
Anna Finch, winner of the 2017 Urban League Women-in-Business Challenge
NEW ORLEANS (March 22, 2017) - The Urban League of Louisiana awarded a $10,000 seed capital prize to Anna Finch of "Realized Designs Projects" at the 2017 Women-in-Business Challenge event held in conjunction with New Orleans Entrepreneur week.

The Women-in-Business Challenge, which is now in its fifth year, is a business accelerator program for emerging women-owned businesses. It provides business growth education, technical assistance, personalized consulting, mentorship and peer learning opportunities to ten selected program participants during an intensive 8-week program. This program culminates in an investment pitch challenge featuring four finalists who compete for a substantial cash investment to accelerate their businesses' growth.

Finch was one of four finalists who gave a closing pitch at the event on March 20 to a panel of five judges and a crowd of approximately 150 attendees. Her company, "Realized Designs Projects" is an industrial design firm offering a full turn-key solution for helping customers bring a new product to the market and taking new business ideas from the "napkin stage" to an actual product ready to hit the market.

"We are so proud of the achievements of each of these dynamic women and congratulate Anna Finch on her outstanding winning pitch. The Urban League of Louisiana is committed to empowering women entrepreneurs of this state and we intend to continue our service and dedication to this mission," said Urban League of Louisiana President & CEO, Erika McConduit.

Additional finalists included, Diane Bias of Jin Jeans Productions, Weenta Girmay and Julia Evans of Love You Back Video Productions and Danielle Mitchell of Mitchell Marketing Group.

The panel of judges was made up of a distinguished group of business leaders, media professionals, bankers, and small business champions that included Stephanie DeVane, Vice President, Entrepreneurship & Business Development for the National Urban League; Senior Vice President of Chief Credit Office, Urban Empowerment Fund, Meghan Donelon, Vice President and Commercial Relationship Manager of Iberia Bank, Kimberly Duck, Director, Supplier Diversity for BP America Inc. - Upstream, Quentin Messer, President & CE of the New Orleans Business Alliance and Camille Whitworth, Co-owner of Victory and Drink Lab; Media Pro, Public Speaker.

Television and radio personality and business woman Bevy Smith was the featured guest speaker for the event and gave an inspiring and humorous message to the audience, which included words of encouragement to women in business and wisdom for their continuing journey to success.

L-R:  Director of the Urban League's Women's Business Resource Center Klassi Duncan, Anna Finch, Weenta Girmay, Julia Evans, Bevy Smith, Diane Bias, Danielle Mitchell, Urban League President and CEO Erika McConduit and Urban League Executive Vice President Cathy Washington.

About Urban League of Louisiana (ULLA):
Established in 1938, the mission of ULLA (formerly the Urban League of Greater New Orleans) is to enable African-Americans and other communities seeking equity to secure economic self-reliance, parity and civil rights.  Programs of the Urban League's three Centers of Excellence are focused in the areas of education and youth development, workforce and economic development and public policy and advocacy. For more information on the Urban League, visit us online at  www.urbanleaguela.org and/or follow us on  Facebook  and  Twitter (@ULGNO). In 2001, the Urban League of Greater New Orleans opened the Women's Business Resource Center (WBRC) to facilitate small business development, provide business consulting, educational training and other resources to assist aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. The Contractor Resource Center was launched in 2014 to increase the organization's capacity to serve commercial contractors. The Women's Business Resource Center and the Contractor Resource Center assist over 1,000 entrepreneurs annually.