Kayla Swift ’23

EatOkra, New York, NY

This summer, I was given the opportunity to work remotely with EatOkra, an app that serves as a directory for Black-owned restaurants, caterers, and food trucks. “Where food, culture, and community link,” EatOkra promotes and sponsors upcoming events, provides restaurant consulting, and produces podcasts and cooking content. Over the past five years, EatOkra has amassed over 9,500 businesses listed, with over 330,000 users downloads, and gained partnerships with companies such as Disney, Apple, and Uber Eats. Through these partnerships, EatOkra highlights both prominent and emerging Black chefs and supports local eats with social media posts and other forms of advertising. For example, through their partnership with Budweiser, the “Bud Light Thursday Night Shoutout” commercial campaign featured Black-owned eateries and aired during Thursday night football. Recently, this summer EatOkra launched a marketplace selling and showcasing food products from various Black-owned businesses, most of which are woman-owned.

Kayla Swift working remotely.
My remote workspace this summer.

One of my major tasks this summer was assisting in the launch of the marketplace. I reached out to our vendor partners and acquired product and business photos, copies of their insurance, as well as product and business descriptions. With this information, I updated the company website and created vendor profiles. In addition to managing the launch of the marketplace, I assisted with EatOkra’s partnerships. Some of my duties included writing social media campaign reports, making decks in preparation for upcoming partnerships, and conducting research for different projects. For example, I wrote a report on EatOkra’s social media campaign with Disney, which promoted the Pixar movie Soul by highlighting different Black chefs and their love for cooking. From these partnership-related projects, I learned how to use platforms such as Canva and Amplitude. I also attended and transcribed virtual meetings with EatOkra’s partners, as well as internal weekly marketing and all team meetings.

Other projects included making welcome packets for new members and a crowdfunding project. For the welcome packets, I drafted the welcome letter and information pamphlet, which will be sent out to over four hundred Black-owned restaurants, catering companies, and food trucks. EatOkra had conducted a crowdfunding project on Fund Black Founders, where people could donate money and nominate a business of their choice for a free membership. After the crowdfunding project was completed, I reached out through email to awardees with the appropriate redemption codes for their free memberships.

Through my time at EatOkra I learned many valuable skills and gained key takeaways that will help me down the road. I practiced public speaking, while giving reports to the EatOkra team, and gained experience communicating with company leaders, while working with my supervisor and coworkers. This experience has opened my eyes to working with startups that are doing positive work, as I want my future jobs to align with my personal values. Through participating in brainstorming sessions during weekly meetings and witnessing the support and collaboration, I have learned what type of working environment and community I would like to be a part of in the future.

Thank you so much to the Case Family for giving me this opportunity 
to explore my interest in entrepreneurship.