Wilmington, Delaware (Feb 8, 2023) — Nikita Thomas, owner of God’s Green EarthRx, a local company that markets a line of natural remedies, took first place in the second annual “Pitch or Ditch” competition. Held at the Wilmington Public Library and sponsored by United Way of Delaware, The Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative (DRJC) and The Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce (DEBCC), the competition aims to elevate and inspire minority small business owners. “Access to capital in the black community is still a great need. The [community] has great and innovative products and ideas, they just need the capital to get them through to sustain and scale,” Ayanna Kahn, President of DEBCC.

According to the U.S Census Bureau, only 19% percent of small businesses are minority owned. Many of these businesses struggle to find capital from traditional lenders. Pitch or Ditch was created to give minority small business owners a creative way to earn the capital and grow their businesses.

Dr. Randal Pinkett, Chairman and CEO of BCT Partners and winner of “The Apprentice” television show, moderated the competition and echoed the importance of supporting and empowering minority businesses by saying “tonight is about showcasing rising stars in the community.”

Out of the nine contestants that competed for $20,000 in cash prizes, first place of $10,000 was awarded to Nikita Thomas of God’s Green EarthRX, second place of $7,000 was awarded to Jamela Johnson of Believe It, It’s Vegan, and coming in third place winning $3000, was Jenesis Priloeau of Stix Chicken. Scaling and growing is at the top of minds when it comes to sustaining a business for these Delawareans. With her winnings, Nikita Thomas expressed that “in order for me to scale God’s Green EarthRX, I have to automate. I’m going to purchase a machine that will enable me to save time.”

“Pitch or Ditch” competition is modeled after ABC’s hit TV show, Shark Tank. Guest judges were both national and local business leaders, Chris Kenny, President and CEO of Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware; Tanisha George, President of Trilogy One Consulting; Brian DiSabatino, President and CEO of EDIS, LLC.; Denita Henderson, Associate State Director of Delaware Small Business Development Center; and Italo Carrieri-Russo, General Manager and Co-Owner of Vincenza & Margherita Italian-American Bistro. Over 100 community members and fellow entrepreneurs listened intently as minority business owners delivered passionate pitches packed with business plans, sales projections, and scalability plans.

For more information about Pitch or Ditch, contact Tierra Fair at 302.494.5442 tfair@uwde.org.

About United Way of Delaware

Founded in 1946, United Way of Delaware (UWDE) works to advance the common good by focusing on three key areas: Grade Level Reading, Career and College Success and Financial Empowerment. UWDE is engaged in a long-term strategy to eliminate the root causes of Delaware’s most pressing social problems in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties. UWDE is also responsible for the United Way brand in Salem County, New Jersey.