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Grants & Scholarships

Since our scholarship and grant program began eight years ago, we have awarded more than $120,000 to women across the state pursuing a wide variety of food- and culinary-related careers. 

2022 Entrepreneur Grant Winners


Rebecca Denson

Sachai Tea Benefit Corp.

Rebecca started her company in 2015 after a tea-sourcing trip to India. She wanted to have a connection to India, to promote Indian tea and culture, to bring diversity to the marketplace, and to inspire, empower and lower the barriers to starting culinary businesses.

Her company launched its authentic chai concentrate in 2018. Rebecca started 2022 by working with a statewide distribution company and thinks the next step is to go regional. Rebecca plans to use the LDEI Bham grant money to purchase a commercial juicer to juice ginger for chai production but also to use for product development and to eventually share with another start-up that has a need for a commercial juicer.


Rebecca says, she will use the money from LDEI “for professional development for myself and my team and finally for obtaining a WOB (Women-Owned Business) certification.”

Lindsay Whiteaker

Harvest Roots

Lindsay, the co-founder and CEO of Harvest Roots, graduated from UAB with a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology with a focus on food and culture. Her passion for food and fermentation led her to launch Harvest Roots. 

She started selling kombucha and fermented foods at the Pepper Place Farmers Market. The company has sourced 75,000 pounds of local produce since 2013. 

Harvest Roots’ Taproom in Avondale features 15 draft lines of kombucha. Their products can be found at a variety of stores and restaurants in the Birmingham area and also in other Alabama cities.


Lindsay says, “We are planning to use the funds to source a 7bbl, or 294-gallon, stainless steel brite tank. This tank is used to flavor and carbonate our kombucha and would allow us to increase our production capacity by 200%.”


Aquilla Stanback

Lillie's Cup LLC

Aquilla’s company sells artisan loose leaf teas, tea by the cup, tea accessories and baked goods. The products are sold at Pepper Place Farmers Market. Lillie’s Cup also hosts afternoon tea at Birmingham’s historic Arlington House.

Aquilla started her company in 2019 with a pop-up at a Birmingham area small business.

Lillie’s Cup supports the community by collaborating with other small businesses and organizations to provide products and services. They presented a Black History Tea for young people through a partnership with the YMCA Youth Center. 

Aquilla says she will use our grant money to expand her products and services. “On my big list: a brick-and-mortar store. On my small list: additional merchandise to sell and items that can be used during the tea parties such as cute teapots, vintage items, etc.”


We are women helping women! 

Click below and learn more about how to apply for our grants & scholarships.


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