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Salt Lake County Awards 2 Women Entrepreneurs at WEC Utah Competition with Grants

Posted By Regional Development
May 27, 2020

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Salt Lake County Economic Development participated in the annual Utah Women's Entrepreneurial (digital) Conference Wednesday, May 27, where multiple businesses were selected as grant recipients.

The WEC Utah gathered nearly 100 women from across the state on Zoom to provide resources as they launch or expand their businesses. The conference is typically held as an in-person event, but organizers adapted to host it online in order to provide critical support during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Two outstanding women were chosen as recipients of Salt Lake County Economic Development's grant: Tamara Garza, owner of Mystic Salon & Spa and Najati Abdalla, owner of Namash Swahili Cuisine, both Salt Lake County businesses.

Chef Najati - WEC grant recipient.jpg

Chef Najati is from Somalia and started her business in 2016 as a way to share her rich culture and experience with Salt Lake County. The cuisine is crafted from Somali and Kenyan family recipes. Chef Najati's goal is open a restaurant where all are welcome. To reach that dream, Namash Swahili Cuisine is sold through Spice Kitchen Incubator and many events in the valley.

The owners, who were quarter-finalists in the competition, are receiving $500. As a sponsor, the County is committed to and a supporter of women in business, especially those owned and operated by new Americans.

There were five finalists for WEC Utah grants ranging from $1,250 to $5,000. Kathy Anderson, with Little Apple's Child Care Center in Grantsville won first place. Second place went to Nailya Ragimova with Doner Kebab Express in West Jordan; third place to LaTonya Jackson with Iridescent Hair Co; fourth place to Luisa Tupou with Tupou Tusis Samoan children's books; and fifth place to Alicia Berardo with Daydreams Cakes & Pastries LLC in Salt Lake City.

The WEC Utah is planned by women from multiple local organizations, including the Women's Business Center of Utah, Utah Women's Networking Group and Mountain West Small Business Finance.