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Philadelphia Black Entrepreneurs Grant

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Mechanism Ventures
1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Jun 11, 2021
Winners Announced
Jul 11, 2021
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
African American

Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not.

Although African-Americans comprise 13.4% of the US population, just 1% of start-ups receiving venture funding have Black founders.

From small businesses to venture-scale companies, entrepreneurship is an impactful and enduring way that communities move forward, but the funded entrepreneurs in the US do not reflect the diversity of our country.

In an effort to work towards a more equitable country, the Mechanism Ventures team is funding 15 grants for Black students and recent graduates across a wide variety of fields where opportunity is not equal.

Thanks to the contributions of our Philadelphia-based team members, the Philadelphia Black Entrepreneurs Grant will be awarded to a Black entrepreneur from Philadelphia at any education level who is currently building or who aspires to build a new business.

Current or aspiring Black entrepreneurs across any field or business stage will be considered.

Winners will be selected on the merit of their business idea, and on the impact that additional financial support would have for them.

This scholarship is part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series.

Selection Criteria:
Impact, Drive, Business Plan
Published June 12, 2020
Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself. What do you hope to achieve with the business you're building (or aspiring to build)? What are you doing to reach those goals?

500–1000 words

Winning Application

Kaylah McGuffie
Merion Mercy Academy Philadelphia, PA
At face value I am a young black woman growing up in West Philadelphia I attend a predominantly white high school about 30 minutes away, full of both loving people and hidden racism. Still, I adore my school and the atmosphere of acceptance, fun, and academic excellence it cultivates. That excellence, in particular, is really easy to achieve when you have skills in math or a knack for art. While I admit I’m intelligent and do well in all my classes, my true skill doesn’t reside in memory recall or logical thinking. I am an idea generator. I come up with things across many fields of interest: recipes, novel plots, fashion designs, product ideas, poetry, and the like. Sadly, these skills don’t translate well to school, where you can’t bring in a novel you wrote and receive an A in literature. I had no idea I could satisfy my constant need for innovation until my friend asked me to start a beauty business with her. A few years later I broke off on my own, starting Reverie Beauty and becoming an overnight sensation on social media. It hasn’t all been peaches and cream since then. The hype eventually died down, the hidden costs of business snuck up on me, and running a one-woman business clashed with school- but I’ve never given up. Now that I’ve been doing business for around a year (although I have taken breaks to focus on school) I understand a bit more about my hopes for the future of Reverie Beauty. My first big achievement will be making my business 100% legitimate. I’ve grown from selling a few products to family and friends, so now I want to apply for an LLC and open a business bank account. This will be necessary for my future goals, like hiring employees, purchasing machines and things like custom boxes, and having access to software like after pay and some marketing services. Somewhere along the journey, I hope to become a well-known brand that people among my target demographic (young women around 15-24) can easily recognize. Once that happens I’ll be able to help them feel beautiful, treat themselves, and have fun all at the same time. Being able to help foster that feeling of happiness and self-love in other women is something I desire to achieve because that’s how I like to feel when I take a shower or put on makeup. The rest of my goals are what I personally want from the business. For starters, I’d like an outlet for my creativity. One of my favorite parts of running Reverie Beauty is buying new ingredients and testing new formulas. To have this become a job that can support me and my family for generations would be a dream come true. Second, I’d like to make enough business income that my charitable donations make a real impact. As of now, 5% of my profits go to charities that change with the season. I’d like to be making enough that I can donate thousands of dollars to breast cancer research and other causes. This is because my GramGram always reminds me that you accomplish nothing meaningful in life if you don't help others. What’s the point of me accumulating wealth if I don’t use it to aid the less fortunate? I want to make my GramGram proud in everything I do, including the businesses I create. Finally, I’d like to make enough income to be able to create other businesses and branch out into the other fields I’m interested in. I want to design clothing and open bakeries, and I believe that if I start soon I can achieve all of this and more in my lifetime. So what am I doing to achieve these goals? The most important and practical thing I do is constantly look for new information and opportunities to learn. I listen to business success stories, watch videos on marketing, and research the steps to legalize a business (this is by far the most confusing step for me). I’ve been saving what I have and looking for ways to make more money to invest in things like a label printer and new oils and fragrances to formulate with. I spend hours researching the benefits of certain ingredients (for example, do kokum butter and babassu oil benefit the skin or do they just sound cool?) and calculating ratios for new formulas. Even though the social media hype surrounding my business has died down, I haven’t given up on using social media to gain new customers. I post behind the scenes videos of packing orders and creating products, and I send emails to the people that signed up for my email list. I believe my great aunt (who certainly watches over me) blessed me with the initial exposure I received in social media, and it’s now my job to convert all the people who have followed me or signed up for emails into customers. My next big step in achieving my business goals- particularly in solidifying my brand- is working with a graphic designer to develop a firm brand identity that can be used to improve my website, social media, product labels, and packaging: such as branded shipping boxes, free stickers, thank you cards, and tissue paper. The unboxing experience and the aesthetics of the product capture customers, especially when it comes to small businesses. All in all, I have a very long way to go. I’m very proud of myself, especially because I managed to come so far and still receive high marks in school. I’m incredibly excited for the future and can’t wait to innovate and expand. If you want to check out my business, you can do so at or @thereveriebeauty on Instagram. Thank you for this opportunity!


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 11, 2021. Winners will be announced on Jul 11, 2021.

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