Cristie Besu is the founder of Eat Me Guilt Free, a healthy product line of snacks and sweets. The first generation Cuban-American built her own empire eight years ago, but it wasn’t easy.
“Being a Hispanic female from Miami, we’re an up and coming city, but I think we’ve had a lack of resources everywhere because it hasn’t been hundreds of years that we’ve been doing this. We’re still figuring it out. That’s where I think the biggest challenge is. That’s where all the other granular issues come from,” said Besu.
In 2013, with little money, the registered nurse and certified sports nutritionist-turned-entrepreneur started baking treats straight from her kitchen. Besu said it was her hard work and determination that grew the company.
“The one piece that would’ve been great [for me] was having a female mentor because I had a lot of males that I would come across and get the best advice as I could. But that’s why “You Go Girl” was born.
The “You Glow Girl” grant aims to help female entrepreneurs who are struggling. The winner receives $10,000, a one-year mentorship with Besu and a Peloton bike.
“We believe that mind, body and spirit is part of entrepreneurship. If you don’t have a healthy mind or a healthy body it makes it challenging to get through all the difficult times as an entrepreneur,” she said.
This year’s recipient is former ride-share driver, Amanda Sheridan.
Sheridan is now the founder of BagValet, a service that assists travelers to bridge the gap between lodging accommodations and flight times by providing luggage storage.
“We are a mobile curb-side to curb-side business so we pick up your luggage, usually at your accommodations or at the airport. When you arrive we secure each item with a lock, we store it for as long as you need in our climate controlled facility and then we delivery it back to you at a pre-designated time and location," said Sheridan.
Sheridan hopes to use this grant to expand her business.
“What a huge opportunity it is for female founders specifically. I myself have seen some of the barriers to entry that she spoke of with regards to why she started this grant so it’s great,” said Sheridan.
2021 was the inaugural year of the "You Glow Girl" grant program. The application period for 2022 will kick off on February 13th, 2022. For more information, click here.