Photo via: Black Enterprise
Kwame Boler, the co-founder and chief executive officer for NEU, Inc., walked away with a $50,000 grand prize after winning the 2018 National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Competition, reports Black Enterprise. Boler and his team's pitch to revolutionize the cleaning and maintenance that goes into caring for Airbnb rental properties in between stays presented one of the more scalable business opportunities of this year's competition.
Last month, the NBMBAA held it's 40th annual conference and Scale-Up Pitch competition in Detroit, Michigan. The competition was started to encourage NBMBAA members to create startups that were scalable and that could grow and become sustainable business opportunities. During this year's competition, a total of 10 semi-finalists were selected to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Only three finalists moved on to pitch their ideas to the conference attendees to ultimately determine one grand prize winner. Every participant had to be residents of the United States, over the age of 18, plus have a founder who is Black or of African descent that maintains an equal stake in the startup idea.
Boler is a former Boeing engineer who used his extensive experience staying in a variety of Airbnb properties to come up with the idea for NEU, Inc. "[NEU] is a hotel-like turnkey solution for Airbnb and vacation rental hosts. Through tech and ops, we get the apartments guest-ready in between guest stays. We route a cleaner directly to the doorstep right after the guest checks out and before the next guest checks in," Boler told Black Enterprise.
When asked to share any advice he might give to other first-time startup founders of color, Boler emphasized the importance of building relationships and starting key conversations with investors when you’re still in the 'idea phase' of planning. "There's a growing mantra that's quite prevalent within this industry, which is that if you ask for money, you'll get advice. And if you ask for advice, you’ll get money. So be sure to do the latter," Boler shared.
Congratulations Team NEU, Inc.! Thank you for your demonstrated Black excellence to challenge the ever-changing operations of the hospitality and vacation rental industries.