Meet the winners of Motivated Entrepreneurs’ small business pitch competition

A year-long commitment, this program offered no-cost training + grant funding to a handful of up-and-coming business owners in Sacramento.

Seven people hold certificates commemorating their completion of the Motivated Entrepreneurs program.

Finalists of the Motivated Entrepreneurs program celebrate the final showcase.

Courtesy of California Capital

Table of Contents

This year, California Capital Women’s Business Center (WBC) introduced Motivated Entrepreneurs, a year-long program of monthly workshops + networking events for local business owners.

Imagine “Shark Tank,” but with a more wholesome and supportive environment. At no cost, participants were able to develop vital connections and skills, leading up to the last pitch showcase in a series of competitions.

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, five finalists shared the spotlight, pitching their unique business ventures to a panel of judges for feedback. Three walked away with money from Sacramento’s Innovation Grants.

Itacate founder Martha Y. Diaz smiles with her certificate of completion for the Motivated Entrepreneurs program.

Martha Y. Diaz (middle) placed first in the Motivated Entrepreneurs pitch competition.

Courtesy of California Capital

🥇 First place: Martha Y. Diaz

An outdoors enthusiast, Diaz started her business after pinpointing two missing factors in the backpacking industry — food variety + cultural representation. Enter Itacate, a backpacking food company that produces Latin freeze-dried meal kits. Diaz’s products received endorsement from REI Co-op, and she hopes to expand wholesale operations + food options this year.

Taneika Jones stands with her completion certificate for the Motivated Entrepreneurs program.

Taneika Jones (left) placed second the Motivated Entrepreneurs pitch showcase.

Courtesy of California Capital

🥈 Second place: Taneika Jones

Ever ended up with a flat on the highway, wondering how long will I be out here? That’s a scary position many people find themselves in, and Jones wanted to be part of the solution. Founder of DRVA, Jones prioritizes prompt roadside services and customer safety. DRVA offers 24/7 roadside assistance with the ability to personally select your technician + free auto maintenance workshops to equip you in cases of emergency.

Cynthia Dees Brooks holds her certificate of completion for the Motivated Entrepreneurs program.

Cynthia Dees Brooks placed third in the Motivated Entrepreneurs pitch competition.

Courtesy of California Capital

🥉 Third place: Cynthia Dees Brooks

Dees Brooks started as a wine concierge service, connecting customers to Black-owned wine labels. However, she found a strong community demand for a space that celebrates wine, art, Black culture, and community. Thus, TAP Wine Lounge (1011 Del Paso Blvd.) was born — a relaxed + refined wine bar selling exclusively Black-owned luxury wine labels.

The other finalists were Lux Barber Lounge + Best in Tents — check out our reel on Instagram recapping the event.

More from SACtoday