NEW ORLEANS (March 29, 2019) –  The Urban League of Louisiana awarded a $10,000 growth capital prize to Leslie Barrow of “Southern Comfort Consulting” at the 2019 Women-in-Business Challenge, sponsored by Fidelity Bank P.O.W.E.R, during New Orleans Entrepreneur week.

The Women-in-Business Challenge, which is now in it’s seventh year, is a business accelerator program for emerging women-owned businesses. It provides business growth education, technical assistance, personalized consulting, mentorship and peer learning opportunities to ten selected program participants during an intensive 9-week program. This program culminates in an investment pitch challenge featuring four women entrepreneurs.

To a panel of judges, in front of a crowd of approximately 150 attendees, Barrow delivered her winning pitch.   Her company, “Southern Comfort Consulting Services” is a full-service property management company offering clients a “One Stop Shop” for their property management needs. Services include: cash for keys, lock work, tree services, evictions, roof repairs, and minor to full scale upgrade renovations. Ms. Barrow plans to use her $10,000 to automate her accounting procedures and integrate QuickBooks with a work order management software. She will also use these funds to add an online customer portal to her website that will allow tenants access to maintenance scheduling and completion dates.

Additional finalists included, Charon Flowers-Maple of Designum Technologies, Sara Reardon of Nola Pelvic Health, and Courtney McWilliams of MaryMac’s Doggie Retreat.

The panel of judges was made up of a distinguished group of business leaders, and small business champions that included Phala K. Mire, President and CEO, Women’s Business Enterprise Council – South;  Tammy O’Shea, Chief Marketing Officer, Fidelity Bank; John Matthews, Senior Director, Small Business Services, Louisiana Economic Development; Jo Ann Lawrence, Deputy Director, Small Business Administration – Louisiana District Office; and Stephanie DeVane, Executive Vice President, Entrepreneurship and Business Development, National Urban League.

Cynthia Bailey, super-model, entrepreneur, and  reality TV star served as the keynote speaker. Cynthia currently stars on Bravo TV’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta, is CEO of The Bailey Agency School of Fashion, and founder of The Be Better Foundation. Cynthia has several other businesses which include: Cynthia Bailey Eyewear, CB Vior and CB Candles. Two businesses on the way include: The Bailey Wine Cellar and The Bailey Room for events.