Lenovo’s Evolve Small Initiative Announces Platinum and Gold Winners, Elevating Small Businesses to New Heights Nationwide

Top Six Platinum Winners Across Raleigh, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Toronto to Receive Local Billboard Advertisements Featuring Queen Latifah

Raleigh, NC – Lenovo, the global technology powerhouse, is proud to announce the 2024 cohort of small businesses selected to receive the coveted platinum and gold grant offerings of its Evolve Small initiative. Created to promote and support small businesses across North America – particularly those owned by women, minorities, and people with disabilities – this year’s initiative offered the top six businesses selected the opportunity to receive $15,000 in grants, a $10,000 technology package, specialized mentorship for entrepreneurs from CWC Coaching and Therapy, and the chance to promote their brands on billboards and social media platforms in their local areas of operation – featuring AI-customized ads with fellow small business owner and Evolve Small ambassador, Queen Latifah.

Evolve Small Platinum winners“We are honored to announce the winners of the Evolve Small initiative and extend our heartfelt congratulations to all of our small business participants,” said Gerald Youngblood, Chief Marketing Officer of Lenovo North America. “These remarkable small businesses exemplify the spirit of innovation and resilience that defines the entrepreneurial community. We are committed to the role technology plays in their journey towards success and look forward to witnessing their continued growth and impact.”

After an extensive selection process in partnership with AMD, Microsoft, and with entrepreneurship and community building non-profit, Goodie Nation, these six businesses have been selected to receive the Platinum package:

  • Raleigh: Royal Cheesecake & Varieties A black-owned and locally operated bakery and food truck in Raleigh, North Carolina, Royal Cheesecake & Varieties is known for amazing cheesecake flavors like chicken and waffles, birthday cake, s’more‘s, Georgia peach and more.
  • Los Angeles: Doggie Goddess Pet Services – A black-owned and woman-operated doggie daycare & boarding business that offers a completely cage free daycare and boarding environment for all dogs that stay, coupled with personalized service for your pets.
  • Atlanta: Sneaker Doodle Co. – A family-owned interactive retailer that is all about creativity and fun, Sneaker Doodle focuses on customization, allowing customers to design and paint their own shoes. Bring in your favorite kicks, or choose from their selection, and they’ll provide all the art supplies you need.
  • Chicago: Pretty Spirit Palace – A woman-owned & family-operated little girls’ boutique that services the youth by giving them the opportunity to identify self-confidence, individuality & self-worth through an array of services. Services include spa treatments, photography, fashion, arts & crafts, plus more!
  • Dallas: The Plant Project – With four locations between Dallas, Houston & Galveston, the Plant Project is the first Black woman owned plant shop in Texas. Deeply rooted in diversity, The Plant Project was created to celebrate community, culture and plants. Housed in an area that once upon a time was the first settlement of ex-slaves known as Freedmen’s Town, it is now a place where all can grow together and root for each other.
  • Toronto: NutmegSpicedA 100% Grenadian-owned bakery specializing in gourmet desserts made from scratch – Sonisha, the chef, strives to bring authentic flavors to Toronto and the rest of Canada by utilizing traditional techniques and carefully sourced ingredients.

In addition, the following 12 companies have been awarded the Gold Package, with which they’ll each receive a $15,000 grant along with Lenovo technology to help power their businesses:

  • Raleigh
  • Los Angeles
    • SALUBATA – A tech company focused on lifestyle inventions that help people and the planet.
    • Ricardo’s Nursery – A wholesale plant nursery that services individuals and landscapers alike.
  • Atlanta
    • Barlow’s Foods – A food company known for its plant-based, 3-in-1 pancake biscuit waffle mix and seasonal syrups.
    • Ready to Live Soaps – An interactive soap-making experience that serves as a therapeutic outlet for many, including those vulnerable to mental health challenges.
  • Chicago
    • Black Beauty Collective – A retail store and online marketplace that features exclusively Black-owned brands from beauty entrepreneurs.
    • Brewpoint Coffee – A local coffee shop franchise and brewing company inspired by an ad for an espresso machine on Craigslist.
  • Dallas
    • HustleBlendz – A five-star rated coffee shop and cold brew company serving ethically sourced coffee for the everyday hustler.
    • Puzzles of Color – A black-owned family puzzle company featuring the work of artists of color.
  • Toronto
    • Patera Caffé – A coffee roasting company with over 35 years of experience servicing hotels, restaurants, cafes, and other food service establishments.
    • Kind Karma Company – An ethical fashion company that employs at-risk and homeless youth in Toronto to handcraft quality jewelry. In addition to fair hourly wages, proceeds from all sales are returned to youth artisans to support their individual goals.

As part of their recognition and in addition to the elements, each winning small business will receive a comprehensive professional development from Goodie Nation and access to Lenovo’s network of industry experts and mentorship opportunities.

Queen Latifah with the Lenovo Evolve Small team standing on a small-town main street with a mountain in the distance.

In recent years, Lenovo has transformed from a top device maker into a technology solutions leader powered by AI. Championed by the belief that Hybrid AI is the future, the Evolve Small initiative underscores Lenovo’s unwavering commitment to fostering a future of “AI for All,” driving economic growth, and empowering small businesses to succeed in an ever-evolving marketplace. Through mentorship, resources, and strategic partnerships, Lenovo aims to provide invaluable support to entrepreneurs as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. To date, Lenovo’s Evolve Small has provided over $2,000,000 worth of small business grants and technology donations to small businesses in the U.S. and Canada, all with the goal of propelling them forward, connecting them to new markets, and empowering resilience.

For more information about the Evolve Small initiative and Lenovo’s commitment to empowering small businesses, please visit Lenovo.com/EvolveSmall.


Lenovo powers Lenovo

As a global technology leader, Lenovo is pioneering the use of groundbreaking AI to enhance our own operations, so we can help enterprises transform and embrace smarter AI for all.

Learn more about our AI-powered transformation.
Don't Miss StoryHub Updates: