LANSING, Mich. — Back in August the Lansing Economic Area Partnership also known is LEAP held its first outdoor Hatching event.
The Hatching is a pitch competition that lets entrepreneurs toss out future ideas they have for their business.
Taking top prize was creator and curator of Socialight Society Nyshell Lawrence.
“Socialight Society is the independent bookshop that celebrates Black women and Black literature. We curate classic, contemporary and children's titles predominantly written by women of color," Lawrence said.
Lawrence was one of six local entrepreneurs that got a chance to compete. The competition took place at the Albert EL Fresco Social District in East Lansing. It was open to entrepreneurs that were in Eaton, Ingham, Clinton and Shiawassee counties.
“Businesses have five minutes to talk about their business idea, it was for businesses that maybe have not started yet or have been operating for less than three years," Lawrence said.
Lawrence opened Socialight Society back in January. She was also a graduate of LEAP's One And All program, which helps entrepreneurs set up their business and links them up with a business mentor.
“So the plan for the Hatching was really how we could expand and do something different with Socialight Society," Lawrence said.
Right now, all of their titles are written by Black women.
“But we are supported by many different people of many different demographics. And so our plan for the hatching was to be able to expand our inventory right now to specifically help Black men see themselves in this space," Lawrence said.
That plan helped her snag the top prize of $2,000.
“I was amazed. I was absolutely amazed. All of the pitches, were really good. All the ideas were great, and so I sat in my seat excited for whoever they were going to call. And yeah, so when they said Socialight Society for first place, it kind of even took me a second to get up out of my seat," Lawrence said.
She hopes that her bookshop and her dreams inspires others to follow theirs.
"If you have a dream, if you have an idea that's on the inside of you. Just go for it. No matter what it is, no matter how big it seems, or how hard it seems like it might be take one step. And you'll be amazed by the people that will rally behind you to make sure that it happens," Lawrence said.
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