The creator of the Socialight Society snatches the grand prize at the LEAPS spawn event


LANSING, Michigan — Back in August, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, also known as LEAP, held its first outdoor breeding event.

The Hatching is a pitch competition where entrepreneurs can pitch ideas for the future of their business.

The grand prize went to the creator and curator of the Socialight Society, Nyshell Lawrence.

“Socialight Society is the independent bookstore that celebrates black women and black literature. We curate classic, contemporary and children’s titles that are predominantly written by women of color,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence was one of six local entrepreneurs given the chance to apply. The competition took place in the Albert EL Fresco Social District in East Lansing. It was open to entrepreneurs from Eaton, Ingham, Clinton and Shiawassee counties.

“Companies have five minutes to talk about their business idea, it was for companies that may not have started or have been in business for less than three years,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence opened the Socialight Society back in January. She was also a graduate of the LEAP One And All program, which helps entrepreneurs start their business and matches them with a business mentor.

“So the plan for the hatching was really how we could expand and do something different with the Socialight Society,” Lawrence said.

Right now all of her titles are written by black women.

“But we are supported by many different people with many different demographics. And so our plan for hatching was to expand our inventory now to specifically help black males see each other in that space,” Lawrence said.

This plan helped her snag the grand prize of $2,000.

“I was amazed. I was absolutely amazed. All the pitches were really good. All the ideas were great so I sat in my seat and was curious to see who they were going to call. And yes, when they said Socialight Society for first place, It even took me a second to get up from my seat,” Lawrence said.

She hopes her bookstore and her dreams will inspire others to follow theirs.

“When you have a dream, when you have an idea that is in you. Just do it. No matter what it is, no matter how big it seems or how hard it seems to take a step. And you’ll be amazed at the people who will gather behind you to make sure it happens,” Lawrence said.

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