May 15, 2014

Media Contact:
C. Brylski/D. Johnson

-Entrepreneurs will have a chance to win $25,000; Pitch Session will be a part of the 2014 ESSENCE Festival™ Presented by Coca-Cola®-

 NEW ORLEANS, LA - PowerMoves.NOLA, ESSENCE and Chevron today announced the four women finalists for the inaugural Chevron PowerMoves Pitch contest, which will be held on Saturday, July 5, 2014 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center as part of the 2014 ESSENCE Festival™ Presented by Coca-Cola®.  The winning pitch as selected by judges will receive a $25,000 cash prize.

PowerMoves.NOLA, an initiative of the New Orleans Startup Fund, provides minority start-up businesses access to capital, high-impact mentors, and technical assistance. During the July 4th weekend, PowerMoves.NOLA will highlight its partnerships with Chevron and the ESSENCE Festival™ Presented by Coca-Cola® through this high-energy event.

The finalists for the Chevron PowerMoves Pitch are:

       Co-Founder Cheryl Contee
                We Are Onyx Co-Founder and CEO Delali Kpodzo
                BOLD Guidance Founder and CEO Nichelle McCall
                Nexercise Co-Founder and VP of Engineering Olubunmi ‘Boomie’ Odumade

“Chevron believes that economic opportunity should be extended to as many people as possible, and that companies should be reflective of the diverse customers they serve.  In fact, locally 39% of our suppliers are certified minority-owned, woman owned or small businesses,” said Chevron Gulf of Mexico General Manager of Public Affairs Sakari Morrison.  Chevron is very pleased to be the lead sponsor and partner in this important initiative which increases access to information and opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.”

The Chevron PowerMoves Pitch is one of three Power Pitch events taking place during the July 4th weekend. At each event, representatives of minority-owned businesses will demonstrate to a panel of investment-minded judges why their startups are sustainable and poised for growth. The successful pitches will win a cash prize and access to a network of potential investors.

“The Power Pitch events are just one component of a comprehensive PowerMoves.NOLA program,” said Leslie Jacobs, CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund. “With PowerMoves.NOLA, we’re not just showcasing existing talent, we’re building a network of investors and mentors that will be a foundation of support for growing minority entrepreneurship.” 

The contestants of the Chevron PowerMoves Pitch will put their pitches to the test at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center at the 2014 ESSENCE Festival™ Presented by Coca-Cola® on Saturday, July 5th. The winner will be selected by a panel of celebrity judges and receive a $25,000 cash prize. Attendees will also select an “audience favorite” who will be awarded a $5,000 prize.

About the Chevron PowerMoves Pitch Finalists

Cheryl Contee is the Co-Founder of, a tool to help businesses turn their existing customers into their #1 acquisition channel. Both Huffington Post & Black Enterprise have named her a Top Female Founder in Tech to Follow on Twitter and she was one of Fast Company's 2010 Most Influential Women in Tech

Delali Kpodzo is the Co-Founder of We Are Onyx, the premiere online beauty platform dedicated to Black beauty. A former teen model, she has coupled her entrepreneurial drive with international business experience and a passion for cosmetics and fashion.

Nichelle McCall is the Founder and CEO of BOLD Guidance, simplifying the process of applying to college by making it easy to manage and stay on top of college deadlines and requirements. She has been working in the college prep field for over 10 years and previously served as a college admissions counselor and a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation liaison on a $20 million college completion project.

Olubunmi ‘Boomie’ Odumade is Co-Founder & VP of Engineering of Nexercise, a free app making healthy living a winnable game. She has over 16 years of experience delivering highly-visible, large-scale technology solutions and led Nexercise's growth from 0 to over 500 million minutes of logged activities.


About PowerMoves.NOLA |

PowerMoves.NOLA is an initiative of the New Orleans Startup Fund designed to create power through opportunity by offering solutions to the challenges facing minority start-ups. The New Orleans Startup Fund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) evergreen seed fund established by business and financial leaders in the Greater New Orleans region to accelerate the growth of early-stage, innovative businesses into venture-ready companies. The Startup Fund's mission is to create jobs and economic prosperity for the 10-parish Greater New Orleans region by providing seed capital and business assistance to early-stage firms that demonstrate significant growth potential. For more information visit

About Chevron

Chevron is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. Based in Covington, LA, Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico business unit has approximately 1,800 employees and approximately 2,000 contractors daily. Chevron is one of the largest producers and second largest leaseholder on the Gulf of Mexico shelf; and one of the top leaseholders in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. More information about Chevron is available at