Bank Tank awards grants

Business pitch competition honors small businesses

Posted 11/1/23

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Seasoned Gives, a nonprofit that focuses on support to women- and BIPOC-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs, announced the winners of its Bank Tank: Revolutionize …

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Bank Tank awards grants

Business pitch competition honors small businesses


POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Seasoned Gives, a nonprofit that focuses on support to women- and BIPOC-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs, announced the winners of its Bank Tank: Revolutionize Business Financing Pitch Competition.

The competition was held on Saturday, October 21 at Dutchess Community College. 

Conceived by Seasoned Gives founders and small business owners Tamika and Martin Dunkley, Bank Tank is a business pitch competition that aims to bridge the gap between traditional banking and underserved small business owners and entrepreneurs. It offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete for a $10,000 prize and receive mentorship from small business experts.

The event was a collaborative effort between Seasoned Gives, KeyBank, and Dutchess Community College, with a strong focus on promoting diversity and inclusion within the entrepreneurial world. 

The winners of the 2023 Bank Tank competition were:

  • $10,000 Grand Prize Winner—Career InTouch. Said Chairman/CEO Calief Housen, “We are so grateful here at Career InTouch for the amazing opportunity. Words cannot  express the gratitude we have.”

  • $1,000 First Runner-up— Play Pop. “Thank you so much for the Bank Tank opportunity," said co-founder Kris Weiss. "It was so inspiring and FUN!!”

  • $500 Second Runner-up- Benny's Tropical Ice. Said owner Kamir Jackson, “This was an amazing opportunity! I’m so glad to be a part.”

The winners were selected by a panel of judges made up of local business leaders who heard each business owner’s business pitch in a format similar to ABC-TV’s popular "Shark Tank" show.  The judges based their decisions on overall presentation, product/plan, financials and economic impact.  Participating as judges were KeyBank Regional Retail Leader Louis Hoxha, KeyBank Business Banking Leader Wallace Lynch, Eleven3Seven5 Founder and CEO Anita Pierce, and Dutchess Community College Assistant Profess of Business Management Maureen Peters-Gittelman. 

In preparation for Saturday’s pitch competition, Seasoned Gives paired competitors with "seasoned" mentors who worked with the entrepreneurs over several weeks to strengthen and refine their business pitches, and offered deep insights into market trends, regulations and technology integration.  Mentors included Tim McQueen of McQueen Associates, Chelsea Miller of Curry & Miller, and Martin and Tamika Dunkley of Seasoned Gives. The grand finale of the event saw finalists pitching their refined ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience. 

The final list of women and BIPOC business owners and entrepreneurs competing in Bank Tank were:

  •  Nandie’s Cupcakes—Nandie Clark

  •  Play Pop—Kris Mae Weiss & Elina Tunyan

  • Lenahc Vetements—Chanel Clark

  • As One Flight, LLC—Nikki Chung, M.S.

  • Teadaytea, LLC—Nicole Carroll

  • Benny's Tropical Ice—Kamir Jackson

  • Career InTouch—Calief Housen

  • Vidl Barbershop—Alex Vivar

  • SATZ Hair—Annazette Allen

Tamika Dunkley sees Bank Tank as more than a competition for funding; she sees it as a way to make introductions to investors and sponsors who can provide mentorship that will help even the playing field for talented underserved entrepreneurs. “Grassroots initiatives like Bank Tank can have the power to reshape small business financing, nurturing growth and innovation, and positioning BIPOC businesses for promising futures,” said Dunkley.  “We were able to introduce small business owners to bankers and mentors that they can now leverage for their businesses’ growth and future success.”  

Bank Tank will be an annual event. For more information and to sign up for next year's event, visit

About Seasoned Gives

Empowering People Through Education and Ownership

Seasoned Gives is a 501(c)(3) organization located in the Hudson Valley. Its mission is to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and social injustice through education, ownership and self-sufficiency. Its key programs include the following:

Financial literacy: Over the past four years, the group has reached over 10,000 people through in-person and online financial literacy programs. These initiatives equip individuals with essential financial knowledge, providing them with tools for better financial decision-making.

Business support: Seasoned Gives states that it has helped hundreds of businesses become established and secure funding, and helped them grow and thrive. By strengthening local businesses, the group fosters economic stability and creates employment opportunities in the Hudson Valley.

Workforce development: Seasoned Gives provides personal development coaching, resume building, classes and tools to empower people to be the best version of themselves possible. 

About KeyBank:

KeyCorp's roots trace back nearly 200 years to Albany. Headquartered in Cleveland, OH, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $188 billion as of September 30.  Key provides deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states, plus corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit KeyBank is Member FDIC. 

Seasoned Gives, Bank Tank, KeyBank, Nandie's Cupcakes, Play Pop, Lenahc Vetements, As One Flight, Teadaytea, Benny's Tropical Ice, Career InTouch, Vidi Barbershop, SATZ Hair, entrepreneurship, BIPOC


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