The UPS Ignite Program Ignites Success and Growth for Minority-Owned Businesses
The UPS Ignite Program is one of many ways UPS is working to empower Black founders
Matthew Featherstone, founder of Hiatus Cheesecake, creates the best dessert you won’t find anywhere else.
This past August, Mr. Featherstone tirelessly worked at Bmore Kitchen in northeast Baltimore, determined to achieve a personal best by completing the last of the 10,000 cheesecakes ordered.
This milestone has been years in the making. Matt’s journey began in his youth, baking desserts with his mother. As he ventured into the restaurant industry, he saw an opportunity: offering gourmet desserts to upscale restaurants.
“With Hiatus Cheesecake, we aimed to provide high-end restaurants with a gourmet dessert option that perfectly complements their upscale menus,” he said.
Along the journey, Matt, the son of 40+ year UPSer Lurenda Featherstone, added a partner (Branden Wiles) and has steadily built a loyal following for the delicious dessert; count Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and first lady Dawn Moore as fans.
With their amazing cheesecakes, these two are getting really popular. Here’s what Hiatus Cheesecake has recently achieved:
- They secured a contract to supply cheesecakes to cafes and cafeterias at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
- Hiatus Cheesecake was one of the five firms to win a national Kroger “Go Fresh, Go Local” competition. You can now find their delicious cheesecakes in 17 Kroger supermarkets in the mid-Atlantic region, and they plan to expand to 1,200 stores in the future.
- They won the Baltimore Homecoming Crab Tank pitch competition and were awarded a $25,000 prize.
Next month, they will compete in the national pitch competition for Dessert Wars in Atlanta. This opportunity comes after their impressive performance in the regional DC competition this past May.
Throughout their journey, the founders have made the most of opportunities to gain support for growing their company. This includes mentorship for Matt, provided by a restaurateur he once worked for at the beginning of his career. Additionally, they have received support from UPS.
The duo has been a part of the UPS Ignite Program since 2022. They credit the UPS Ignite Program as a great source of information for founders.
“It’s been pretty phenomenal,” said Mr. Featherstone.
“One of the challenges we have faced is acquiring the knowledge required to scale. The UPS Ignite Program has granted us access to the essential relationships we needed to acquire that knowledge.”
Mr. Wiles added, “The Lonely Entrepreneur has been an invaluable resource for my business partner and me. It equips minority entrepreneurs, like ourselves, with the necessary information and resources to approach customer and investor acquisition effectively.”
UPS also provides its supply chain expertise to Hiatus Cheesecake.
“We have partnered with UPS Transportation Management Solutions to facilitate the delivery process between our commercial kitchen in Baltimore and the distribution center of our distributor located just outside of Charlotte,” said Mr. Wiles.
This support has been a two-way street. Mr. Featherstone and Mr. Wiles have collaborated with UPS to pinpoint other product-based businesses that could benefit from the UPS Ignite Program or require supply chain assistance.
“We have a network of founders and organizations, but many of them are unaware of each other,” Mr. Wiles noted. “I feel fortunate to have the ability to connect the dots between various organizations and fellow founders. I take pleasure in assisting UPS in supporting others.”
UPS is grateful for the opportunity to continue serving small businesses such as Hiatus Cheesecakes, the heartbeat of our economy and the soul of our communities.
UPS is actively looking for more dynamic founders for its next cohort. Enjoy 12 months of unlimited access to a community of disruptors and innovators.
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This program is one of many ways UPS is working to empower Black founders. To learn more about dedicated programs for minority founders, please visit: www.about.ups.com/diversebusiness
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