Ford Fund and 1863 Ventures Award $50,000 to Winners of Inaugural HI-HERImpact Miami Pitch Competition

MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#entrepreneurs–Ford Motor Company Fund and 1863 Ventures announced the winners of the inaugural April 16 HI-HERImpact Miami Pitch Competition. The live ‘Shark Tank’-style virtual event highlighted some of South Florida’s most promising women social entrepreneurs and awarded three winners $50,000 in cash prizes and in-kind support to help grow and scale their businesses. Since 2018, Ford Fund has awarded more than $250,000 in total funding to women-led enterprises in Detroit, Washington D.C. and Miami.

The new HI-HERImpact Miami winners are:

  • First Place: (Patricia Buendia, Lifetime Omics)–Awarded $25,000 (Growth stage)
  • Second Place: (Alexandra Ivanovitch, Equality Lab)–Awarded $20,000 (Growth stage)
  • Third Place: (Vanessa Pierre, EcoRenew Solutions)–Awarded $5,000 (Early stage)

“Ford Fund is proud to award first place to Patricia Buendia of Lifetime Omics, whose company utilizes the latest biotechnology and scientific methods to provide people with actionable insights to improve their health and wellbeing,” said Yisel Cabrera, Community Relations Manager for Ford Motor Company Fund. “During these unprecedented times, it’s paramount that we support women entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to continue growing their mission-driven companies.”

Second place winner, Alexandra Ivanovitch of Equality Lab, is using cutting-edge virtual reality technology to allow seniors to have transformative, immersive experiences. The third place winner, Vanessa Pierre of EcoRenew Solutions, is dedicated to the environmental upkeep of Haiti by re/up-cycling post-consumer and industrial goods.

“It’s more important to us than ever that South Florida’s women entrepreneurs feel supported,” said Melissa Bradley, Managing Partner for 1863 Ventures. “We are honored to have the opportunity to help women grow their businesses despite hardships they may now be facing.”

Ten finalists with businesses focused on sustainability, biotech, health and wellness, and more competed through a live video platform. They were chosen based on the following criteria: the social enterprise must exist to solve a real community problem, have a business model that will ultimately be sustainable, and focus on a product or service people will pay for. Judges included Mary Culler, president of Ford Motor Company Fund; Kevin Cadette, executive director of Black Angels Miami; and Natalia Martinez-Kalinina, general manager of CIC Miami.

The HI-HERImpact initiative, which moved to Miami from DC last fall, is a joint venture between Ford Motor Company Fund and 1863 Ventures. HI-HERImpact’s mission is to provide women entrepreneurs with resources like educational opportunities, technical assistance, mentoring, coaching, and financial resources to support their plans to create small businesses or startups that will also make communities better places to live.

Ford Fund leadership and Pitch Competition winners are available for interviews. Media can request interviews through Jenny Wang: or 814-506-4597.

About HI – HERImpact

HI – HERImpact is a joint initiative between the Ford Motor Company Fund and 1863 Ventures to help female social entrepreneurs scale their enterprises in order to increase their impact and long-term sustainability. HERImpact offers educational opportunities, technical assistance, mentoring, coaching, and financial resources, and its Entrepreneurship Summits and Pitch Competitions are designed to build community and provide investment in early and growth stage companies in the region. For more information, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @herimpacthq.

About Ford Motor Company Fund

As the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund’s mission is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 60 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit or join us at @FordFund on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About 1863 Ventures

1863 Ventures accelerates new majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth by bridging entrepreneurship and racial equity. Our vision is to create $100B of new wealth and economic power for and by the new majority. Our work provides emerging entrepreneurs with access to money, markets and management training. We will achieve our vision through increased profitability, job creation and access to capital for our members.


Jenny Wang

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