Monica Smiley

Monica Smiley is Editor & Publisher of Enterprising Women. The magazine will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2020. She is also the President and Founder of the Enterprising Women Foundation. To learn more about Enterprising Women or to donate to the Foundation's initiative to mentor and inspire the next generation of women leaders, please email Monica at or call 919-362-5151.

Phenomix Sciences, Care+Wear  and Civic Eagle Win  Meda  Million Dollar Challenge  Winners of 2nd Annual Meda Million Dollar Challenge Win 1.2 Million  

St. PAUL, Minn. (October 11, 2019) – Ten ethnic-minority entrepreneurs from across the country competed in the final event for Meda’s Million Dollar Challenge Powered by Chase at the Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) Studios in St. Paul as part of Twin Cities Startup Week. $1 million in financing was awarded to the following companies: 

  • Phenomix Sciences – Co-Founder, Dr. Andres Acosta, Rochester & St. Paul wins $500,000
  • Care+Wear – Co-Founder & CEO, Chaitenya Razdan, NYC wins $500,000  ]
  • Civic Eagle – Co-Founder, Damola Ogundipe, Mpls wins $200,000 

The challenge was held by the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda), the top-performing minority business development agency in the nation. Chase is the presenting event sponsor. 

“We are so proud of all of those who competed in the Meda Million Dollar Challenge this year,” said Barbara Butts Williams, Chair of the Meda Board. “Our finalists have grown so much over this process and we are excited to see how our winners will utilize their financing to take their businesses to the next level.”  

In all, more than 500 businesses across the country applied to participate and 22 finalists from six states competed.  

“Small businesses are the cornerstones of local communities, creating jobs and spurring innovation,” said Dave Rudolph, region manager, commercial banking at JPMorgan Chase. “We congratulate these innovative, passionate winners and salute Meda for leading efforts to help more Twin Cities minority businesses flourish.”  

Access to capital is one of the main difficulties’ minority entrepreneurs face. Research has shown that lack of capital, as well as racial discrimination, are largely responsible for disparities between non-minority and minority businesses. As part of their mission to break down barriers to wealth and self-sufficiency that entrepreneurs of color face, Meda provides business consulting, access to capital, market opportunities, and events like the Million Dollar Challenge to bring awareness to these issues and provide solutions.  

About the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) 
Meda provides business consulting, access to capital, and market opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. Meda also operates a business development center under cooperative agreement with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Minneapolis MBDA Business Center connects Minnesota Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) with business opportunities and has been recognized as the top performing center in the country the last three years in a row.

About JPMorgan Chase & Co. 
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.6 trillion and operations worldwide. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at 

About Care+Wear
Care+Wear products are used in more than 30 hospital systems globally and are also available on our website and through third party retailers such as Amazon and Zappos Adaptive. Care+Wear is a for-purpose and social-mission inspired company and partners with foundations such as Stand Up 2 Cancer, March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society. Care+Wear also has partnerships with Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Oscar de la Renta and Parsons School of Design. For more information, visit

Publisher & CEO of Enterprising Women Monica Smile...
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