Black Women In Food, summit, awards, pitch competition, chef, kitchen

Summit Highlights Black Women’s Impact In Food Industry, Features Pitch Competition

The Black Women In Food Awards represents a chance for Black women to receive recognition in an industry that often doesn't give them any.

Black Women In Food, an organization that emerged out of the Dine Diaspora in 2017, will host its Seventh Annual Black Women in Food Awards and its Second Annual Black Women In Food Summit in Washington, D.C., April 26 and 27.

As Forbes reports, the group announced its award nominees in March and honored the winners on April 4, but wanted to give the 31 honorees a chance to be celebrated by their peers in person. 

Nina Oduro, the co-founder of Dine Diaspora and Black Women in Food, told Forbes that she is most excited about the opportunities that the summit affords the attendees. “The summit is not only a place to network and learn. It’s a place where Black women across the food industry can forge connections and brainstorm solutions to overcome obstacles.”

“This year, we’ve introduced innovative components aimed at tackling the systemic issues of access to capital and market entry challenges faced by these women,” she added. “Our new marketplace shines a spotlight on their food businesses, while the pitch competition, courtesy of the New Voices Foundation, offers a vital avenue for accessing capital—a hurdle that often looms largest on their path to expansion.”

The pitch competition, which is only open to the attendees of the summit, is designed for businesses to pitch their ideas directly to a panel of judges composed of industry experts. The first prize winner will receive $10,000 and the second prize winner will get $5,000. 

According to Oduro, the BWIF Awards represents a chance for Black women to receive recognition in an industry that often doesn’t give them any. In 2023, Oduro and her business partner, Maame Boakye, told Food and Beverage Insider that they wanted to spotlight more than just the visible aspects of the food industry because workers are often rendered invisible but deserved to be recognized by their peers. 

“The food industry around the world is entrenched with racism and sexism that manifests in different ways. By centering Black women’s contributions to the global food system, we are combating narratives that seek to diminish their historic, current and future impact,” the pair said. “Black women in the industry around the world need to see their efforts recognized and amplified as they continue to shape the way food is experienced at all levels of society.”

The summit, taking place at the Eaton Hotel in D.C., will be hosted by Vicky V, a Houston-based chef consultant, influencer, and media producer. The editor-in-chief of Bon Appetit and Epicurious, Jamila Robinson, will serve as the keynote speaker at the event.

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