December 6, 2023
Local Business L&M Hair Company Wins KeyBank's Key4Women

10 Oregon and SW Washington start-ups and existing WOB businesses compete for $50,000 in awards

PORTLAND, Ore., November 20, 2023 /3BL/ – KeyBank’s Key4Women program, Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO), and Portland Thorns FC announced that local business, L&M Hair Company, has launched a business pitch competition for women Is the winner. -Owned Businesses (WOBs) located in Oregon and SW Washington. The event was held on November 16 at Providence Park in Portland.

Owner Melody Brown won the $20,000 grand prize, which will be given to the growing L&M Hair Company in Portland. L&M Hair Company is an upscale multi-location textured hair salon. Additionally, they provide mentoring and coaching to young textured hair stylists launching lucrative careers.

Brown was one of 10 finalists selected from a group of 210 applicants to compete for a total of $50,000 in cash prizes. MESO worked to review and select entries that met the competition criteria. Businesses were required to include a detailed business plan, micro-market analysis, and profit projections for their service or product. The finalists presented a 4-minute pitch, and fielded questions for 6 minutes in front of a panel of 5 judges. Of the 10 finalists, 5 were start-ups and 5 were existing businesses. The grand prize winner can be from any category, while the runners-up are selected from both categories. Other winners include:

  • Runner-up (Current) – Ventura Home Loans LLC – $8,000 Prize
  • Runner-up (Start-up) – Prelude, LLC – $8,000 Prize
  • Amza Superfoods – $2,000 Prize
  • Blue Elderberry Farms LLC – $2,000 Award
  • Crisp NW – $2,000 prize
  • El Paraiso 100% Natural LLC – $2,000 Award
  • Yuri’s Certified Childcare – $2,000 Prize
  • Sauvy Shrubs – $2,000 Prize
  • Breakaway Bookkeeping & Consulting – $2,000 Prize

During the application process, MESO held workshops to review application requirements and best practices. Additionally, MESO provided each finalist with a mentor who supported them during the preparation of their pitches.

“We congratulate Melody and her team at L&M Hair Company on winning the grand prize. Their pitch was inspiring, and we are so pleased to help them grow and expand,” said Rachel Sampson, national director of Key4Women. “Women business owners and leaders positively impact our economy and communities in powerful ways every day, which is evident based on the strength and diversity of the applications we received.”

To be eligible, businesses must be 51 percent owned, controlled, operated and managed by a woman or women. They must be headquartered in one of the following Oregon counties: Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Columbia, Hood River, Yamhill, Marion, or one of the following Washington counties: Clark, Cowlitz, or Skamania.

The final awards were chosen by a panel of five judges, which included:

  • Candace Beeke, publisher and market president of the Portland Business Journal
  • Josh Lyons, KeyBank Oregon and SW Washington Market President and Commercial Banking Leader
  • Dr. Robin Beavers- Director of Community Impact- Portland Thorns FC
  • Brea O’Duin- Founder and CEO of Bassett SPC
  • Tiffany Canifax – Vice President and Senior Business Banking Relationship Manager at KeyBank

The criteria used to determine the winners included quality of presentation, clarity of business vision and mission, economic impact of the idea, and soundness of the value proposition.

about meso

Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) elevates and empowers under-resourced and excluded entrepreneurs to build resilience, equity, and thriving communities through access to capital, tailored business support, and education. Founded in 2005 to assist Black-owned small businesses facing challenges in the wake of gentrification in North and Northeast Portland, the nonprofit now serves more than 600 entrepreneurs and small businesses in Oregon and Southwest Washington each year. Does it. MESO is a designated SBA microlender, an IDA fiduciary, and a certified community development financial institution (CDFI).

About Portland Thorns FC

Portland Thorns FC is an American professional women’s soccer team based in Portland, Oregon that plays its home matches at the prestigious Providence Park. Founded in 2012, the team began play in 2013 as one of the founding teams of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – the top-ranked professional women’s soccer league in the United States. Thorns FC is one of the best globally in terms of attendances among men’s and women’s professional football clubs. The team has won eight trophies – three NWSL Championships (2013, 2017, 2022), two NWSL Shields (2016, 2021), the NWSL Challenge Cup (2021), the Women’s International Champions Cup (2021), the NWSL Community Shield (2020).

About KeyCorp
KeyCorp’s roots stretch back nearly 200 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with approximately $195 billion in assets as of June 30, 2023. Key 15 provides deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to individuals and businesses. States under the name of KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,000 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs. Key also provides mergers and acquisitions advice to middle-market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name, public and private debt, and a wide range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products such as equities, syndications and derivatives. Is. For more information, visit KeyBank Member FDIC.

About Key4Women
Key4Women began in 2005 as a campaign to provide $1 billion in loans to eligible women-owned businesses within three years. The program achieved this feat in two years and has now generated more than $12 billion in loans to women-owned businesses. Membership in Key4Women is free. In addition to helping female business leaders and owners raise capital to build and grow their businesses, Key4Women members gain valuable access to a team of local certified Key4Wome advisors who advocate for women in their journey to financial wellness, Connects with them and empowers them. Visit for more information.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *