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Meet the 2024 BMO Fellows

Katie Haghighi, 2024 BMO Fellow

Generously sponsored by BMO

Albert Ng | Illinois

Clipp, Inc.

Clipp, Inc. specializes in providing automation and AI tools to food ingredient suppliers, aiming to streamline manual tasks that typically consume a significant portion of workers’ time, often up to 60-70%. With a mission to reduce food waste and make food more affordable, Clipp, Inc. offers solutions that not only optimize operational efficiency but also contribute to poverty reduction and foster innovation in gastronomy. The venture has already demonstrated impactful results, such as saving a pilot ice cream supplier $40,000 in labor costs and enabling investments in larger storage facilities to prevent spoilage. To date, the venture also works with four other restaurants and has raised $160,000 in capital.

Candice Jurick | Indiana

Roam EV

Roam EV is pioneering a solution to address the complexities of Electric Vehicle (EV) ownership, aiming to alleviate range anxiety and streamline the consumer experience. Through initiatives like the Roam EV car club, which offers member events, discounts, and infrastructure updates, the venture fosters a supportive community for newcomers and enthusiasts alike, easing their transition into the EV Revolution. To date, the venture has raised $5,000 to support its initiatives and has launched its website.

Carl Johnson | Minnesota

Storehouse Grocers

Storehouse Grocers is dedicated to ending hunger by providing affordable and accessible groceries while offering workforce development in the food industry. They address food insecurity in communities like Dayton’s Bluff – a community in St. Paul, Minnesota – by focusing on affordability, accessibility, and food knowledge. Through micro-grocery and coffee bars, they offer quick service to consumers, along with a Culinary Training program aimed at empowering participants with skills and opportunities. They provide community space for advocacy, offer staple groceries under $8, and fast coffee service for $4 a cup. To date, they have also raised $160,000 in capital.

Jake Webb | Minnesota

Thrift MRKT

Thrift MRKT is a premier e-commerce platform that prioritizes environmental sustainability through the resale of vintage clothing via a sustainable clothing marketplace. Their innovative two step authentication process combines AI Photo authentication with a staff of highly trained certification experts at their Minneapolis based Authentication Center, providing comfort to sellers and security to buyers. Thrift MRKT’s goal is to create a sustainable clothing marketplace that drives a positive impact on people and the planet. To-date, the venture has raised $2.5 million in capital pre-revenue at a $13 million valuation.

Chamieka Osuya | Wisconsin

The Snack Sack

The Snack Sack operates on a peer-to-peer mutual aid model, directing contributions to address immediate needs among families affected by systemic racial oppression, spanning food, housing, medical, and other insecurities while incorporating eco-friendly sourcing of supplies and zero-waste distribution practices. By lifting families out of poverty and helping them access basic needs, the venture supports sustainable communities. Their mission revolves around offering wraparound community-based services, delivering financial assistance, essential life supplies, and moments of joy through direct giving and mutual aid. In its first year, the venture raised and distributed $2.2 million to support numerous families. In 2023, they experienced a 34% increase in mutual aid distribution.

Dominque Edwards | Indiana

Walker Street Park Community Garden

The Walker Street Park Community Garden addresses food apartheid in Michigan City’s Eastport neighborhood by providing access to fresh, healthy produce to community members. The venture evaluates its impact by measuring food distribution and gathering resident feedback, ensuring continued success in meeting the neighborhood’s needs for fresh food. Since 2020, the garden has raised $50,000 in capital, distributed over 1,000 pounds of food per growing season, with a recent increase to 3,000 pounds in 2023, strengthening the community’s access to nutritious options.

Eliane Treadwell | Illinois

Relevant Laboratories

Relevant Laboratories is dedicated to simplifying and democratizing entry into the beauty market by assisting brands in developing innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable formulas while streamlining the product launch process. Specializing in working with small, Black, or woman-owned brands, the venture aims to catalyze economic and racial shifts within the beauty industry while promoting sustainability. Eliane studied Pharmaceutical Science with an emphasis on Cosmetic Science at the University of Cincinnati and graduated from Cornell’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Fellowship in 2023.

Jannice Newson | Illinois

Lillian Augusta

Lillian Augusta is revolutionizing the hair and beauty industry with its plant-based braiding hair, offering a sustainable alternative to synthetic options. Synthetic braiding hair, commonly used in hairstyles like braids and twists, is made of cheap, carcinogenic plastics, leading to discomfort and environmental pollution. Lillian Augusta addresses this by using a plant-based material instead, offering a more comfortable, healthy, and eco-friendly experience. Targeting Black women and non-binary folks, who are primary users of braiding hair, the venture aims to promote equity in hair care and contribute to a cleaner, more inclusive industry. To date, the venture has raised over $300,000 to support its efforts, including from TechRise Chicago, a multi-stakeholder initiative to support historically underrepresented tech founders from Chicago.

Jordan Karim | Illinois

Flora & Noor

Flora & Noor is pioneering the skincare industry with its focus on underrepresented consumers, offering halal-certified products with sustainable, plant-based formulas tailored for melanin-rich skin and chronic skin conditions. Founded by a research chemist and pharmaceutical skincare consultant, the brand addresses the lack of clean, inclusive skincare options. Flora & Noor provides alcohol-free, cruelty-free products suitable for Muslims and others seeking halal options. To date, the venture has raised $100,000 in capital, been featured in Forbes, and launched its products in Ulta Beauty to continue offering products that cater to diverse skin types and concerns, while promoting clean, ethical practices.

Katie Haghighi | Minnesota


FR8 is at the forefront of addressing the global textile waste crisis by diverting clothing from landfills and promoting local circulation through its circular fashion platform. By offering clothing upcycling services, FR8 aims to disrupt consumer purchasing behavior, reduce overconsumption of synthetic fibers, and foster accessibility to sustainable fashion. To date, the venture has raised $5,000 in capital, circulated over 1,500 pounds of clothes locally, and currently works with 40 customers.

Noemi Florea | Wisconsin


Cycleau addresses water scarcity, pollution, and contamination, impacting millions of Americans annually. With a three-stage wastewater treatment process—physical filtration, membrane filtration, and UV disinfection—Cycleau guarantees safe drinking water while curbing sewage pollution and conserving water. This innovative approach enhances water accessibility, affordability, and tackles systemic issues in outdated water infrastructure, especially benefiting low-income homeowners in marginalized communities. To date, the venture has raised approximately $80,000 in capital.

Olivia Sanchez | Illinois

Sudz Cauldron

Sudz Cauldron, a conscious haircare brand, provides eco-friendly, inclusive haircare products to address the beauty industry’s representation gap. Offering personalized care for diverse hair types, it champions healthy hair and self-acceptance through sustainable solutions. Sudz Cauldron’s products, available online, through B2B partnerships, and at pop-up events, include shampoo and conditioner bars designed with eco-friendly formulations. To date, the venture has raised $30,000 in capital to support its efforts.

Reamonn Soto | Illinois

Sensatek Propulsion Technology, Inc

Sensatek enhances wind energy competitiveness with intelligent sensors improving turbine uptime and cutting CO2 emissions. The venture’s impact extends to societal benefits such as reducing respiratory diseases by replacing fossil fuel-based electricity, fostering academia-industry partnerships, promoting STEM education and workforce diversity, and enhancing public scientific literacy. To date, the venture has raised $165,000 in investments from mHUB Energy and Climate Tech Accelerator, private investors, and forging partnerships with industry leaders like Siemens Energy, NextEra Energy Resources, and Invenergy.

Shatoia Robinson | Wisconsin

Ready to Roll

Ready To Roll, a community-driven initiative in Milwaukee’s East Side, addresses chronic diseases like Diabetes and Hypertension by offering locally sourced vegan and vegetarian food options. By prioritizing job creation and economic vitality, they employ locals and partner with nearby businesses, contributing to the reduction of unemployment rates and strengthening ties within the community. They aim to decrease sick leave due to cardiovascular problems and lower the risk of Diabetes-related issues by promoting vegan and vegetarian diets. To date, the venture has raised $12,000 in capital.

Shozib Akhtar | Wisconsin


EMPIRE CAR HIRE LLC is revolutionizing the transportation sector with its innovative car-sharing model, which not only reduces traffic congestion and excess vehicle production but also champions sustainability and social impact. By actively engaging with local communities through workshops and educational sessions on sustainable mobility, EMPIRE CAR HIRE LLC fosters inclusive access to car-sharing services, ensuring that underserved communities can benefit from shared transportation solutions. Moreover, with a fleet that includes electric and hybrid vehicles, EMPIRE CAR HIRE LLC significantly lowers carbon emissions and contributes to a more sustainable future. To date, the venture has raised $5,000 in capital to support its initiatives.

Tatiana Freeman | Minnesota

Nosh Posh

Nosh Posh is dedicated to providing healthy convenience for all through innovative vending machines that leverage vacant retail space, combatting food insecurity and food deserts in urban and rural areas. By offering locally sourced, nutritious options, including products from BIPOC- and women-owned businesses, Nosh Posh aims to make healthy choices accessible and convenient, particularly in areas like North Minneapolis facing severe food access challenges. To date, the venture has raised almost $675,000 in capital and achieved total company revenue growth of 118% since launch in 2021.

Tayyaba Ali | Illinois
Christian Guerrero | Illinois

Tikal Industries

Tikal Industries aims to revolutionize industrial water management through their smart water management platform, INTI, designed to optimize water-energy nexus operations. By leveraging proprietary sensors like Lumen and SilverFish, they provide real-time data insights, asset management, and process efficiency monitoring for industrial stakeholders. By piloting solutions and assessing metrics such as water usage reduction, economic savings, compliance rate, and environmental impact, Tikal aims to empower industries to achieve profitable and sustainable water management practices, ensuring a resilient and resource-efficient future. To date, the venture has raised $175,000 to support its efforts.

Wasiu Adesope | Illinois

Green Energy Justice Cooperative (GEJC)

The Green Energy Justice Cooperative (GEJC) addresses energy poverty and lack of access to clean energy for low- and moderate-income households in the Greater Chicago area through a member-owned clean energy cooperative model. By allowing members to own a stake in clean energy infrastructure, GEJC enables them to reduce energy costs and build equity. To date, the venture has raised $420,000 in capital from funders including the US Department of Energy and the Community Power Accelerator, and won the 2023 Illinois Shines competition from the Illinois Power Agency to advance its mission of creating equitable access to clean energy.

BMO, or Bank of Montreal, is one of Canada’s leading financial institutions, with a rich history dating back to 1817. As the 8th largest bank in North America, BMO offers a comprehensive range of banking and financial services to individuals, businesses, and institutions. With a focus on customer-centric solutions, BMO provides services such as personal and commercial banking, wealth management, investment banking, and capital markets activities, serving millions of customers across Canada, the United States, and around the world. In addition to its financial services, BMO is also dedicated to making a positive impact through philanthropy, with a specific focus on supporting sustainability initiatives. Launched in 2023, the two-year BMO Fellowship powered by Watson Institute will support highly promising, diverse entrepreneurs and leaders to advance their sustainability focused ventures and drive forward solutions to the most significant challenges facing our world; the BMO Fellowship will support 15 Fellows and at least 225 Basecamp Participants each year.