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Black CEO and entrepreneur wins cash prize in business plan competition

Su Sanni is one of eight winners who will receive help with his startup company through 43North

Entrepreneur Su Sanni was able to showcase his solid business plans and walk away with more than $500,000 after becoming one of eight winners of 43North’s business plan competition last week.

Sanni’s company, WeDidIt, uses software platforms that aid nonprofit organizations in raising more money and reaching new donors online. According to the company’s website, WeDidIt has helped nonprofits such as the Georgia Aquarium, Los Angeles Zoo, and the L.A. Mission.

“We created WeDidIt because we wanted to wake up every morning doing something that was tied to making other people’s lives better,” Sanni said in a 43North interview.

Since 2014, 43North, a business competition that began with the help of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, has helped 29 startups, awarding $5 millions in capital, mentorships, incubator space and the opportunity for the company to thrive without having to worry about New York state taxes for 10 years.

Beginning next January, the lucky winners will relocate their business to Buffalo, New York, for a minimum of 12 months, where they will be provided with expert mentorships, a business incubator space in downtown Buffalo, and 10 years of state tax freedom through START-UP NY. 43North will take a 5 percent equity stake in each of the winning companies. The first companies that stand out most during their first year in Buffalo will also be awarded an additional $400,000 in funding.

This year, Sanni was the only African-American CEO to win a major cash prize, while Angel Rich, co-founder and CEO of The Wealth Factory Inc.-Wealthy Life, a program that offers financial literacy education services, was awarded $10,000 as the People’s Choice winner of the competition.

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.