Lillian Augusta Wins Prize, Gets Local Recognition

Nana Britwum (left) and Jannice Newson won the 2020 Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track

OCTOBER 20, 2020 – Last year’s  winner of the 2020 Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track was Lillian Augusta – (Jannice Newson [MS ‘20] & Nana Britwum [MS ‘20]) a biodegradable hair braiding product made from Phragmites, which is an invasive plant species. 

Well, recently this unique “hair without harm” business won $10,000 in the Essence/McDonald’s Making Moves Pitch Competition.  Newsome said, “I have to catch my breath! It’s a great feeling,” she exclaimed. “Especially knowing we’re getting ready for our launch next year. This is really going to be very beneficial to get things in place for us.”


Additionally, Lillian Augusta felt the love from Crain’s Detroit Business with a feature on their work.  In the article, Jannice and Nana shared that they chose phragmites because of its fibrous composition, and because it’s local. They harvest the phragmites themselves from wetlands owned by the University of Michigan.


We’re happy for Lillian Augusta’s well-earned recognition, and we know that the rest of the world is jealous that we first got to see their pitch last year!