Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson of BLK & Bold win the Black Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

Des Moines coffee startup BLK & Bold co-founders, Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson, have won the OWBS Black Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

The two will receive $5,000 to use toward their business as part of winning the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Cezar and Johnson launched their independent coffee and tea brand in 2018, after stepping back from established careers in retail merchandising and higher education. Earlier this year, BLK & Bold became available at Target and Whole Foods across the country, making them the first black-owned, nationally distributed coffee brand.

Other winners of the awards were Dawn Dickson of PopCom and Krystal Banner from Kaleidadope.

Become a Certified B Corp

Earlier this month, the company announced announce that it had officially a fully certified B Corp business. B Corps are businesses that use profits and growth to positively impact employees, communities, and the environment to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Five percent of BLK & Bold’s profits are donated to charitable initiatives, ranging from workforce development to supporting at-risk youth.

“We believe that great business stems from investing in our communities. It’s reassuring to have the support of B Corp behind us as BLK & Bold looks to grow and expand our impact on such a vulnerable demographic,” wrote BLK & Bold in an announcement. “Our B Corp certification comes on the heels of our recent expansion. Our new 10,000 square foot facility allows us to bring more customers into our community, produce more products, donate more money, and impact the local job market. We are so excited to welcome more people into the coffee and tea industry through the products we love, with purpose in mind.”