Entrepreneurial spirit. Intelligence. Unabashed chutzpah. Candace Mitchell is a savvy computer scientist, who is taking on the multi-billion dollar haircare industry through Techturized Inc. Its primary service, Myavana, is a noteworthy recommendation platform and app that is delivering personalized and scientifically-backed haircare solutions to women around the globe.
Now, the Atlanta-based trailblazer is up for a BET Next in Class Award in the Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) Category. Mitchell’s prowess in business and computer science – she graduated from Georgia Tech in 2011 – nabbed her one of only three spots culled from nominations from across the country. Votes are due January 4 (go #candacevisnext).
Mitchell’s mission to transform the hair industry through science and technology has earned her and her co-founders first place in numerous pitch competitions, including SXSW Interactive, and features in publications like ESSENCE magazine, Ebony Magazine, Black Enterprise, and Business Insider. With her impressive history and inevitable rise to greater success (including a hopeful award from BET), Hypepotamus asked Mitchell to share her journey to accolades and entrepreneurship.
One thing that I know for sure is when I stepped out on faith to start my company over 3 ½ years ago, the world has opened up with opportunities that I never even imagined. One recent recognition that I’m extremely honored and humbled by is the BET Next In Class Awards.
Next In Class is a celebration of young leaders, innovators, and influencers whose stars are rising in their fields. The nominations are comprised of 6 different categories: Fashion, Education, Social Justice, STEM, Entertainment, and Music. I’m incredibly excited that BET decided to highlight and honor a diverse set of backgrounds and areas of culture and society. I’m nominated for the STEM category along with two other amazing technologists. I feel that this award is bigger than me and represents a larger movement that has transformative power in our current generation and those to come.
The revolution of the beauty industry
The introduction of technology in the hair & beauty industry unlocks a totally new market that can better serve the unique needs of consumers in a way that has never been done before. We encourage the inclusion of all skin tones, curl patterns, hair textures, and personal beauty needs, yet there has always been a gap with providing the appropriate products and services to meet these unique representations. I believe we’re on the brink of a new era of personalization where every woman feels distinctively acknowledged by knowing there are options out in the marketplace just for her. With the birth of Myavana and other beauty technology companies, we will create a better world of beauty and serve consumers globally, all by the power of tech-enabled products and businesses.
The growth of women in technology
It’s not a surprise that I would be the only woman in this category as it is a very accurate reflection of the daily environment of the STEM fields, heavily dominated by men and other ethnicities. However, there are so many organizations and initiatives to thank that are committed to changing the ratio and equip more women to enter and remain in the STEM workforce. By having a woman honored in this category, I could think back to my younger self and feel how much of a positive impact it would’ve had to see another woman who looks like me excelling in an industry that really didn’t seem to be inviting or that I would really belong. This is about changing the tide and validating every young girl’s desire to be the next scientist, developer, or engineer. This is about changing the image of black women in the media and creating more platforms that celebrate our intelligence.
More minorities pursuing entrepreneurship
Think about the daily apps and services you use that are technology powered and I can name the entrepreneur who had the courage to create the startup that is now dominating their industry and potentially generating billions of dollars. Becoming an entrepreneur and having the fortitude, determination, and belief to persevere against all odds strengthens the likelihood that the next multi-million dollar business can have one of our names at the helm, creating an enterprise that provides more generational wealth in the Black community and opens doors for future entrepreneurs to come. I was blessed to have a strong introduction to the world of entrepreneurship through an amazing college professor at Georgia Tech and intense startup education program. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world and I sincerely wish that more African-Americans could be exposed to the same level of coaching and networking opportunities to bring their ideas to life. I know that my experiences are very purposeful and will bring value to others when I have the opportunity to share the same knowledge with a platform to reach people who have the desire to learn and create their own businesses.
I’d like to thank BET and whoever made the decision to nominate me for this award and encourage everyone who reads this post to vote for me at this link: http://www.bet.com/shows/bet-honors/2016/next-in-class/stem.html and more importantly, vote to support a bigger movement of the beauty revolution, women in technology, and minority entrepreneurs.
Candace originally posted about being nominated for BET’s First in Class here.