STAMFORD, Conn. — Cantu Elevate, the brand-owned initiative and entrepreneurship accelerator program from award-winning multicultural hair and skincare brand, Cantu Beauty, together with BrainTrust Founders Studio (BTFS), the beauty and wellness membership platform for Black founders, has selected the 2022 Cantu Elevate $20,000 grant winner: Ezinne Iroanya, founder and CEO of SKNMUSE, a skin and body care brand that prioritizes “elevating the beauty experience for Black women” while utilizing clean ingredients as well as clean beauty practices adopted from West Africa.
“Black founders are filled with ideas and dreams that sometimes die with them,” Ezinne Iroanya, founder and CEO of SKNMUSE explains. “That is why initiatives like Cantu Elevate and BrainTrust Founders Studio are important. They provide resources for companies like mine to thrive on fertile soil.”
Each founder in the competition participated in masterclasses led by Cantu and its partner agencies — BrainTrust, The Sasha Group, and Reddish — to strengthen their business and marketing acumen and subsequently grow their budding businesses. The finalists then advanced in the selection process through their engaging pitches presented live and virtually at the BTFS Founders House last weekend in New Orleans. Cantu and BTFS awarded finalists Rachel Lambo, founder of Sade Baron, and Kim Roxie, founder of Lamik Beauty, $10,000 grants, in addition to $1,000 grants to the remaining five competitors for their participation, for a total of $45,000 awarded throughout the program.
The 2022 Cantu Elevate winner Ezinne Iroanya will join Dametria Kinsley, Vice President of Global Marketing at Cantu Beauty for the BTFS B School: Business of Beauty Summit in Atlanta this October to share how her business has expanded with the support of Cantu Elevate and supporting agencies.
“Exposure is everything.” says Dametria Kinsley, Vice President of Global Marketing at Cantu Beauty. “Cantu is proud to help expose Black Female Founders to the tools and resources that have helped us grow over the years. The ultimate goal is to build better business ecosystems to support and shape the future of beauty, which is more diverse and female-led than it has ever been before.”
Cantu Elevate is just one of Cantu Beauty’s commitments to elevate their communities through bespoke events, programming, and both financial and intellectual resources. Last year, the brand began a multi-year relationship with nonprofit Gyrl Wonder, to support Black and Latina communities by nurturing the next generation of female leaders from curl to toe. The partnership continues this year with Gyrl Wonder’s #GyrlGetHired programming, powered by Cantu.
To learn more about each Cantu Elevate finalist, follow Ezinne Iroanya (@sknmuse), Rachel Lambo (@sadebaron), and Kim Roxie (@lamikbeauty) on Instagram. Additionally, follow Cantu Beauty on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to learn more about the brand’s full collection of products for all the styles you rock and BrainTrust Founders Studio (@btfoundersstudio) for more information on membership and programming.