Runner-Up: $5,000 cash

Rose Sisters Chips
At 80-something years old, I came out of retirement to help create Rose Sisters Chips with my youngest son. Our life-changing, seasoned, baked tortilla chips are based on my Mom’s recipe from the Old Country. We have shared our chips at parties to the delight of all. For decades, people INSISTED that we sell them (which we appreciated but kindly disregarded. After all, everyone is nice when things are free). Eventually we went for it and launched, excitedly, without a clue a pandemic was around the corner. Still, we grew and established our own production facility in a Hub Zone and hired local staff to contribute to the local community. We are a Woman Owned Small Business and FDA & State approved. We’ve been sold in nearly 1,800 locations in the US and Canada with aggressive plans this year. Upwards is the only direction to go! It's been incredibly exciting and the family has never been so energized about something - particularly being able to pay homage to the original "Rose." Mom instilled in us a deep sense of putting others above ourselves....not just as children but as adults and continuing to this day. To that end, we set up our production facility in Bridgeport (one of the poorest cities in Connecticut) to help bolster up business in the city. We hire staff locally (100% are Bridgeport residents and all are economically disadvantaged). A short while ago we started working with an agency which serves the previously incarcerated population and we hire resources to help them with training and employment to assist with their transition back into society. We created a mini-consortium within our building with other food manufacturers and share our staff with them to help keep our employees working as close to full time as possible as well as to help alleviate staffing challenges for those other manufacturers. Prior to COVID, we would use our "broken" chips that we could not package for sale for in-store demos. However, as demos aren't likely to return fully any time soon, we donate those chips to a local food shelter serving Bridgeport families. We purchase services and products from as many Bridgeport suppliers as possible (corrugated boxes, marketing, printing and handyman services). There is nothing more satisfying than sharing Mom's recipe with the world to bring them joy from a unique product while helping some truly wonderful people from the Bridgeport community to become part of something fun, growing and hopefully one-day, life-changing for them too.