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Bridging Gaps: Help Honeybee Lemonade Syrups Grow

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Personal Bio

Family:
Hello Lovely People, I'm Andrea Wade, the CEO and Flavor Innovationist at Honeybee Lemonade Syrups. I am an African American woman, I've spent most of my life in Oregon, growing up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. As a single mother, I've had the joy of raising my incredible 21-year-old daughter. She's not only brilliant, strong, and kind but also incredibly creative, a natural leader, and blessed with a fantastic sense of humor. What makes it even more special is that she's my business partner too!

Education:
My educational journey includes earning a B.A. from Southern University A&M, an M.Ed from Portland State University, and an Administrator License from Concordia University.

Motivated by my compassion for children and a commitment to my community, I pursued a career in education. With over ten years of experience in education, including roles as a middle school teacher and School-Family Partnerships Manager, I have been committed to advancing equitable education outcomes. I played a key role in creating and implementing a research-driven family engagement initiative, promoting inclusive school environments. Additionally, I empowered parent groups from communities most impacted, increasing their participation in decision-making processes.

About My Company
Honeybee Lemonade Syrups was originally served to customers with sparkling water from the window of a food cart by Andrea Wade, Honeybee Lemonade Syrups hit the shelves in 2019. From day one, customers found Honeybee Lemonade Syrups to be unique and crave-worthy. It was the popularity and positive feedback during this time that inspired her to bring her syrups to market. Honeybee Lemonade Syrups are all-natural artisan syrups, free from preservatives and artificial flavors and sweeteners.

Honeybee Lemonades prioritizes the best ingredients for the highest quality flavor. We understand the growing demand for clean ingredient products, free of artificial flavors, preservatives, and unnecessary additives. My journey began with support from Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon, a 14-week entrepreneurship class through the Small Business Development Center and testing and guidance from the Food Innovation Center.

Over the past five years, despite the challenges of 2023 and the ongoing impact of COVID, we have become a beloved favorite among locals.

Our products can now be found in 38 stores, including Market of Choice and New Seasons Market, as well as local establishments like Raptor Ridge Winery, Meals 4 Heals, Trail Distilling, Welcome to JamRock, The Apothecary, Brown Bag Popcorn, and the Sports Bra. We maintain a presence at PSU Farmers Market, festivals and events throughout Oregon and Washington, growing a community of loyal fans.

The Challenges
In 2023, we faced significant challenges as we navigated the path to scale our business and explore new sales channels in 2024. These challenges, deeply rooted in outdated systems of oppression, have inflicted trauma and harm. As a Black woman-owned business, I have personally experienced the impact of racism, which has been a familiar obstacle limiting not only survival but thriving in the business landscape.

The time and resources required to equip myself and others with the additional skills necessary to address these unique challenges have been substantial. Negotiating through ingrained cultures and structures of racial inequality has proven to be a formidable task.

My attempts to secure conventional financing further underscored the systemic barriers in place. Despite graduating from two entrepreneur accelerator programs that partnered with local banks for micro-lending, I encountered discriminatory practices. One bank changed the loan requirements after meeting them, resulting in the denial of funding as the only person of color and graduate not funded. The other credit union denied me an intake meeting, referring me to an organization for people of color without reviewing my business financials. The micro-lending industry, in general, remains largely unknown, with application processes steeped in discrimination and red tape, creating prohibitive loans and application rubrics.
The trend of Black women entrepreneurs self-funding their startups is a direct response to the challenges posed by institutional racism and systemic bias, making funding acquisition from other sources exceptionally difficult. The data aligns with my personal experience, highlighting a 3x higher rejection rate for funding applications from Black women business owners compared to their white counterparts. Furthermore, only 2% of venture capital funding in the United States is allocated to female-only founding businesses. The intersectionality of these obstacles intensifies the struggle for Black women entrepreneurs in securing critical funding.

My experience, along with that of other Black women business owners, reveals consistent and ongoing challenges in engaging with distribution, co-manufacturers, non-profits, funders, and other agencies. These challenges manifest as systemic barriers, including breaches of contract, disruptions in supply channels, resource gatekeeping, lack of controls/checks/balances, performative tokenization of the BIPOC community, and white-led non-profits perpetuating performative BIPOC representation, reinforcing dependency over independence. The result is a greater misrepresentation in grant dynamics, creating an atmosphere of charity rather than solidarity.

The Need
I find myself at a juncture where I must turn to the community and humbly ask for assistance to thrive and continue bringing our lemonades and syrups to you all.
As I navigate through these challenges, I am reaching out to the community for support. I am seeking $50,000 to bridge the gap as I explore avenues for sustainable growth, including partnerships with a co-packer, marketing, sales, and operational support. Grants and loans often come with limitations tied to historical hardships, making community funding a more accessible and supportive option.
Your support, whether through investments, gifts, or sharing our GoFundMe on social media, is invaluable. Every contribution brings us closer to achieving our vision of a Black woman-owned company that supports sustainable production, ethical values, and the growth of other BIPOC businesses.

Thank you for considering my story and being a part of this journey. Your support is a beacon of hope, and together, we can make a meaningful impact.

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Donations 

  • Schlifka Collier
    • $25 
    • 9 d
  • Jennifer Brumley
    • $50 
    • 19 d
  • Nani Baran
    • $100 
    • 29 d
  • Anita Wilson
    • $20 
    • 2 mos
  • Kim Prosser
    • $500 
    • 2 mos
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Organiser

Andréa Wade
Organiser
Portland, OR

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