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Chicago Indie Grocer Wins $50K to Fight Food Deserts

Famous Amos initiative aids 3 promising Black business owners
Forty Acres Fresh Market Liz Abunaw Main Image
Liz Abunaw, owner and operator of Forty Acres Fresh Market

Liz Abunaw, owner and operator of Forty Acres Fresh Market, a Chicago-based startup grocery store that specializes in selling high-quality fresh produce at affordable prices in primarily underserved, food desert regions of the city, was one of the recipients of the second annual Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative, a program from the Famous Amos cookie brand, in partnership with the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), that helps promising Black business owners succeed with capital and coaching resources.  

Abunaw and two other winners were chosen from more than 3,200 business owners who took part in a pitch contest to receive $50,000 in unrestricted capital from the Ingredients for Success initiative, and comprehensive mentoring, coaching, resources and tools from NBCC. The other two recipients were Aaron Woods, CEO of Alpharetta, Ga.-based tech company Podpal, and Staci Childs, CEO of Houston-based legal services business Sunnyside Legal Clinic. 

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“This is the second year of the Ingredients for Success initiative and I’m thrilled to be able to leverage our platform to shine a light on these three companies and their amazing owners, as well as give back to their respective communities,” said Rachna Patel, senior director of distinctive brands at Parsippany, N.J.-based Ferrero, Famous Amos’ parent company. “Famous Amos has now been able to invest $150,000 annually since 2021 directly to Black business owners who make a difference daily to the people they serve.” 

Lack of resources or limited access to them has historically hindered Black communities in their quests for economic and social mobility.

“The National Black Chamber of Commerce is proud to be working with Famous Amos again to support the selected grant recipients and to help usher funds and mentorship to business owners who really need it,” said Charles H. DeBow III, executive director of the Greensboro, N.C.-based NBCC. “Our mission is to economically empower and sustain African American communities through entrepreneurship, and one of the key ways of enacting our ongoing vision of Black business growth and development is achieved through programs like the Ingredients for Success initiative. This program removes challenging barriers, and its timing couldn’t have been better, since the economy of our country is still stabilizing after an unprecedented past few years.”

Eligible businesses had to be at a minimum 90% Black-owned and in operation for five years or less at the time of application.

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