Jennifer Hudson Makes A Cancer Survivor’s Dreams Come True

Jennifer Hudson teamed up with Mastercard to make a cancer survivor’s dreams come true.

As a part of Mastercard’s Strivers Initiative to support Black women-owned small businesses, the talk show host surprised a well-deserving business owner with a 25,000 grant

The award recipient, Elise Smith, is the owner of WinniE’s bakery in Columbia, Maryland. The baker, food stylist and recipe creator credits her grandmother Winnie for introducing her to the craft as a child.  The artisan said she followed her grandmother closely as she worked in the kitchen.

“I never gave her space,” She told Hudson. 

Smith was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 10 years ago, while undergoing treatment she developed and launched her bakery. 

Nearly a decade after her first diagnosis, the entrepreneur recently learned that she had blood cancer. She says she will eventually need a stem cell transplant.

Smith expressed her passion for baking when she appeared on The Jennifer Hudson Show.

“Food is an extension of my heart and I love to share with people,” she told the talk show host. 

“There’s a certain spontaneity and a sense of play when I get to enter into a kitchen, I get to be creative and kind of fire out of all engines,”  the 33-year-old said. 

During her appearance on the show, Smith told Hudson that she plans on expanding her business. 

“I want to open an artisanal bakery-café. I want people to come and be a part of the community. I want to have local artisans there, and I want to have a rotating menu that really celebrates the seasonal edible agriculture that we have,” she said. 

“Having food that celebrates the time and the season, it just feels so natural.” 

The singer presented the entrepreneur with a $25,000 check to help her reach her goals.

To learn more about Elise Smith and WinniE’s Bakery, visit


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