Today, Famous Amos, in partnership with the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), announces the inaugural winners of its Ingredients for Success Initiative, a grant and mentorship program that aims to provide early-stage Black business owners with the tools and resources to succeed.

The initiative has committed $150,000 to award the three winners, each of whom will receive a $50,000 business grant. As part of the process, applicants were asked to submit a videotaped elevator pitch, in which they made a case for why their business needs the support. The program was highly competitive, with the three awardees chosen from a pool of more than 2,700 applications.

Along with the monetary award, the selected business owners will receive a complete suite of mentoring and coaching resources and tools provided by the NBCC to help drive sustainable growth and success. The winners for the inaugural cycle are:

  • Nancey Harris, CEO of Vontelle, LLC, a Brooklyn-based eyewear design company featuring handcrafted creations that pay homage to the African, Caribbean and Latin diaspo
  • Brittany Rhodes, CEO of Black Girl MATHgic, a Detroit-based company that aims to increase math confidence and decrease math anxiety in 3rd to 8th-grade girls through monthly subscribed learning kits
  • MeLisa Heath, CEO of MeLisa Chanele, an Agoura Hills, CA-based talent management and marketing agency focused primarily on Black artists.

“Famous Amos is committed to fostering a legacy of support for Black entrepeneurs, who often face systemic barriers to success,” said Rachna Patel, senior director, distinctive brands at Ferrero. “We couldn’t be more proud of this inaugural roster of winners, and are confident that the grant and mentorship resources, provided in partnership with the NBCC, will provide their businesses with the tools necessary for continued growth.”

Various studies have also shown that the racial wealth gap has been fueled by limited access to capital for Black business owners. According to a report from CNBC, there are about 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the United States, equating to approximately 9.5 percent of all businesses. Yet nearly 8 out of 10 Black-owned companies usually do not survive the first 18 months.

Famous Amos strongly believes that pairing these entrepreneurs early on with financial resources and mentorship is a key ingredient to contribute to a more positive direction. The second cycle of the program will tentatively launch this spring.

“Black businesses and communities deserve opportunities to thrive, and it’s our mission to ensure they have access to the resources necessary to participate vigorously in America’s economy,” said Charles H. DeBow, III, executive director, National Black Chamber of Commerce. “We congratulate each of this cycle’s grant and mentorship recipients, and look forward to continued partnership with Famous Amos.”

The grant applications were judged by some of the nation’s foremost Black business leaders including Jeffery Beckham Jr., Chief Executive Officer at Chicago Scholars; Roby Mercharles, vice president of partnerships at The American Dream Fund & Marketplace; Steve Canal, co-founder of Flourysh, ONE Venture Group, Saint Miles and The Baptist Collection; and Mandy Bowman, and founder and CEO of Official Black Wall Street.

Eligible businesses had to be at minimum 90 percent Black-owned and in operation for five years or less at the time of application. For more information on the program, please visit