Hy-Vee’s OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit will give local minority- and women-owned companies a chance to showcase their products and services. The expo will also feature learning opportunities through presentations and panel discussions, as well as other resources for small businesses. This is Hy-Vee’s second Inclusive Business Summit. The first one was held earlier this year in May in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Hy-Vee and companies like Whole Foods are making efforts to provide some exposure for small businesses, and to act as a resource for small business owners. Whole Foods announced its inaugural Local and Emerging Accelerator Program (LEAP) class earlier this month. LEAP participants will also have the opportunity to showcase their products throughout a 12-week program of classes and mentoring by Whole Foods.
Winners selected by a panel of judges at Hy-Vee’s OpportUNITY summit will have a chance to win a grand prize of up to $30,000. First-place winners (selected from each of the three pitch categories) will win $5,000 each. There will also be additional cash investments awards, and selected finalists could have an opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion after the summit about their product or service.
The event will take place on September 27 in Kansas City at the GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
Hy-Vee is currently accepting applications for the following categories of products or services: food and beverage; product innovation and technology; and health, wellness, and beauty. Businesses will need to apply by September 1. There is no cost to apply.
Hy-Vee’s quarterly Best of Local Brands Summit is also coming up from September 7-9. Since the program began in 2021, 130 total new brands have been chosen and are available at Hy-Vee stores. Of the 130 brands, 28 have been women-owned and minority-owned.
“Hy-Vee takes pride in being partners in the communities we serve,” said Dan Lugar, senior vice president of procurement for Hy-Vee in a recent statement. “Sourcing from local suppliers is very important to us, and these summits allow us to meet business owners, and experience brands and products that we may not know exist.”
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation that operates more than 285 stores across eight Midwestern states.