Hudson Kitchen named finalist in national contest with $100,000 prize

Hudson Kitchen‘s Djenaba Johnson-Jones was selected as a finalist for ESSENCE and Pine-Sol’s “Build Your Legacy” contest, according to a Monday announcement.

The founder and CEO of the culinary incubator in Kearny, Johnson-Jones has worked tirelessly to build her business and create jobs. She is now a contender for a $100,000 grant through the contest from ESSENCE and Pine-Sol designed to celebrate and empower Black women in business.

Djenaba Johnson-Jones at work.

“Over the past two years, we have worked with over 30 businesses that have created 58 jobs and generated $9 million in collective revenue,” Johnson-Jones said. “Winning this contest will enable us to expand our facility, grow our membership base and help our current members increase production efficiency and capacity.”

The contest kicked off in March, with entrepreneurs from across America sending in business plans and videos explaining who they are, what they do and how the grant would help support their businesses.

Johnson-Jones started the business in 2015 because she wanted to deliver prepared meals to clients as part of an entrepreneurial health and fitness business. Through access to Hudson Kitchen’s shared commercial kitchen, storage and coworking facility, as well as mentorship and business training, Johnson-Jones said the business is on a mission to provide small food enterprises with the resources and support necessary to start, sustain and scale a profitable business.

Voting for the winner of the contest will be open to the public until June 30. The grand prize winner will be announced July 2. Johnson-Jones plans to use the $100,000 to build out a dedicated bakery with roll-in rack ovens, proofers, dough sheeters and mixers.