WEST DES MOINES, IOWA — Hy-Vee Inc. awarded $50,000 to minority- and women-owned businesses during its OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit in Hiawatha, Iowa. 

Gnarly Pepper from Cedar Rapids was the overall winner of the pitch competition, receiving a business grant of $25,000. Gnarly Pepper, which was founded by Sara Larson, offers a healthy alternative to traditional dips and condiments. 

The pitch competition was held in conjunction with Hy-Vee’s OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit at the Kirkwood Community College Linn County Regional Center. During the event, 10 minority- and women-owned businesses were selected to showcase their products or services for a panel of judges. Eligible businesses offer retail-ready solutions in one of the following categories: food and beverage, product innovation and technology, health and beauty, sustainability, and service and entertainment

Local professionals and community members attended the daylong conference, which included a small-business vendor expo, small-group panel discussions and a special keynote presentation. 

The OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit is one of several events Hy-Vee holds that support minority- and women-owned businesses in the communities they serve. Hy-Vee remains committed to inclusivity by expanding product and service offerings that appeal to diverse lifestyles and backgrounds.