Tea Squares, an Englewood-based, tea-infused energy snack company founded by local entrepreneurs Jordan Buckner, Isaac Lozano, Alex Stomp and Adi Malik, won a recent Make City Business pitch event competition sponsored by Groupon and organized by the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC).
As the grand-prize winner, Tea Squares will receive a $5,000 grant to help with its growth as well as $2,500 in UPS shipping credits. The company, represented at the event by Buckner, was chosen as the grand-prize winner from a pool of five finalists who were invited to pitch a panel of local business leaders on the quality of their business plan and the likelihood that they could execute it, soundness of their financial status and projections, a clear plan for job creation, the marketability of their product or service and how they planned to use the extra money and supplemental services.
“We were very impressed by Jordan’s business acumen and how he and his co-founders plan to use the additional financial resources and services to market their business to the broader marketplace and hire more teens and young adults from the Englewood neighborhood,” said Nikhil Sagar, pitch event judge and vice president and general manager of Groupon Goods North America. “Great local businesses are the foundation of the neighborhoods that we call home, and we’re proud to support the critical work being done by ICNC to help these entrepreneurs get to the next level.”
“Tea Squares is honored to receive the Make City award as up-and-coming businesses like ours, and many others, need support and resources from organizations like Groupon and ICNC to help us deliver on our mission,” said Buckner. “Winning this award enables us to launch our new single-serve packs and fund our fellowship program, through which we hire young adults from underserved communities.”
Each of the finalists are slated to receive a pro bono package that includes business risk and compliance analysis, custom business apparel, marketing services and a Groupon consultation package consisting of one-on-one sessions with employees from various departments such as legal, finance, public relations, human resources and social media. All of the cash prizes for the pitch event were funded by Groupon.
“We’re proud to provide a platform for emerging entrepreneurs like Jordan and the other finalists to share their amazing work and receive the support and resources they need to become successful businesses,” said Jennifer Holmes, Director of Development at ICNC. “We’d like to thank everyone who submitted an application, the finalists, volunteer judges and Groupon for helping to make this event possible.”