VOTE: Warner Robins veteran named Black History Month Ignition Challenge finalist

The Ignition Challenge allows the top 15 entrepreneurs to share their business ideas and compete for votes.

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WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A Middle Georgia veteran is one of 15 finalists for the national Black History Month Ignition Challenge. The Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP), under the PenFed Foundation, launched the contest to help address the struggle veterans and minorities face when looking for funding to start a business.

Shon Barnwell retired from Robins Air Force Base, and decided to call Warner Robins home. While working to publish her own book, she decided to start her own publishing company: Barnwell Publishing. Barnwell says she wants to win the contest to support her publishing company and provide a platform for minorities and women with military backgrounds to publish their stories.

The Ignition Challenge allows the top 15 entrepreneurs to share their business ideas and compete for votes. The top three winners will receive funding, promotions and mentorship. The first place business creator receives $15,000. Second place receives $10,000 and third place receives $5,000.

You can help honor Black History Month and the military community by clicking here to vote now through February 17.

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Shelby Coates is an evening anchor/producer at 41NBC News. She anchors the 5, 5:30, and 6 evening newscasts. She also works behind the scenes producing the 5:00pm and managing newsroom assignments. She returns to 41NBC after working in Evansville, Indiana as the Morning/Noon Anchor and Executive Producer for WEVV. Shelby also spent time in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she spent three years anchoring and producing the weekend morning newscasts at WSPA-TV. She also worked as a general assignment reporter, receiving several honors for her investigative and consumer reporting. Shelby has spent time working as a news anchor/reporter in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Macon, Georgia; and Abilene, Texas. Shelby is a native of Clarksville, Tennessee. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in sociology. Shelby has a passion for empowering local communities, church ministry, public speaking, strengthening women and mentoring young people.