By Ryan Velez
Perhaps you’ve already heard of Latangela Newsome and her invention, Grease Bags, developed by the “momtrepreneur” after trying and failing to find safe and easy ways to dispose of used cooking grease. Black Enterprise reports that Newsome went to the popular ABC show Shark Tank to pitch her business to the “sharks,” a set of famous potential investors. However, one thing to note is that Newsome and Grease Bags are only one of a growing amount of Black entrepreneurs looking to pitch their ideas on the show’s 8th season. Some of the companies making an appearance include PetPlate, Naturally Perfect, Lulu Bang, and Angels and Tomboys.
Some may be skeptical about the chances of a kitchen grease disposal product to catch the eyes of an investor or a customer when it hits the shelf of a store. However, this idea may actually prove to be a stroke of genius. Grease is often said by plumbers to be one of the top causes of a clogged drain. Not only does it do a fine job of clogging drains on its own, but grease can trap other particles, resulting in a clog that can become very expensive to clear. Not only does this incur a heavy cost to you, but it can also harm the environment. Clogs caused by items like grease lead to sewage backups, pollution of water filtration systems, and personal and commercial pipeline replacements.
Grease Bags are designed to put an end to this issue in a pleasant and efficient way. Newsome’s patent-pending, all-natural, nontoxic, absorbent bags, are a great way to transfer used cooking grease to compost or to simply dispose of them. Once the grease is poured into the bags, natural active ingredient neutralize the smell. Eco-friendly household products are on the rise in a recovering economy—look no further than the huge success of Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company and similar companies.
Even those small businesses outside this particular arena stand to benefit. Jason and Angelica Sweeting pitched their line of Naturally Perfect Dolls to the sharks earlier in January. They were able to secure a deal with Daymond John; $200k for 30% of the company. This is all in the midst of good news for businesses at the start of 2017. Over the course of 2016, average hourly wages for American workers increased 2.9%. This is the highest they have been since the Great Recession. While access to capital is still behind for entrepreneurs of color, it is getting to pre-recession levels as well. This is good to hear for anyone out there looking to take their small businesses to the next level—here’s hoping the positive trends continue.