Arian Simone is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, investor, best-selling author, international speaker and PR & marketing specialist. Arian received her MBA from Florida A&M University and has over 17 years of entrepreneurial experience from pioneering and growing a successful PR and marketing firm to founding the Fearless Platform in 2010 with a mission of inspiring entrepreneurial women. Arian has transitioned from working with billion-dollar corporate entertainment clients to co-founding and operating the Fearless Fund, a venture capital fund investing in startup companies led by women of color.
Rashida Williams’s career as a makeup artist gave her the reputation as “The Glam Doctor.” When COVID hit, Rashida could no longer make visits, so she pivoted to giving live makeup tutorials and classes online. But her resilience hasn’t just helped her business flourish – it’s allowed her to continue her mission of building up other women, who use her story as a guiding light for their own journey.
As a gender equality advocate with a background in both Computer Engineering and Finance, Dr. Roshawnna Novellus is uniquely positioned to affect structural change. That’s why she built her company, EnrichHER, to drive both profit and progress by investing in businesses with women in leadership roles. Working with Mastercard’s Strategic Growth Team has helped Roshawnna find collaboration and partnership opportunities to support her platform and the businesses who benefit from it.
Dr. Erica Gamble saw wigs as a striking fashion accessory from an early age. But after a successful career and an earned doctorate degree, she decided to make an impact and change lives. The Wig Dr. doesn’t just provide wigs for men, women and children – it services a community of people losing hair due to Alopecia, Chemotherapy or other autoimmune diseases.
When Erika Boyd co-created Detroit Vegan Soul, she didn’t set out to make just another vegan restaurant. She wanted to make it easier for her community to live healthier, environmentally sustainable lives. That’s why she partners with local urban farms to source sustainable produce and to make sure her food waste gets a second life as compost, helping those farms – and her neighbors – flourish.
Deirdre Roberson wanted to redefine beauty in every shade, so she started a fashion line inspired by the unique chemical behind Black and Brown skin tones, eumelanin. But Deirdre doesn’t just make apparel – she makes self-love fashionable across the spectrum.
Through her brand, Yes I Am, Inc., Michelle Cadore sells apparel and accessories designed to inspire and empower – often drawing from her own experiences as an ambitious Black woman. Through her Brooklyn-based boutique DA SPOT NYC, Michelle honors her hometown by creating space for local and independent creatives and Black-owned brands. When COVID-19 struck, Michelle was able to pivot her business online using Mastercard Digital Doors.
Egypt Otis is a bright spark of inspiration to her community. Her business, Comma Bookstore & Social Hub, takes that inspiration one step further, specializing in new and used books by or about BIPOC, enriching her community with the diverse voices of local authors, makers and artists.
It’s Mia Ray’s passion for beauty that has powered her business’s remarkable journey. From fashion blog to full-blown glam empire, Glam-aholic Lifestyle’s growth is a testament to the transformative power of her branding prowess. But it’s her passion for connecting with audiences that’s made Mia Ray a household name. A name that inspires savvy young women across the nation.
As President and CEO of Motor City Woman, Robin Kinnie gives novices and pros alike the tools and resources to create high quality audio productions. But her vision goes beyond podcasts and digital radio, as she strives to bring more diverse representation to the media consumed by a global audience.
After receiving two degrees in engineering from Stanford University, Tanya Van Court ascended to the highest marketing positions at many media giants. But it was her degree in parenting that she earned raising three daughters that inspired her to create Goalsetter – a next-gen banking app that helps families become financially healthy and empowered to achieve their goals
Tanya is the founder of the Nebo Law Firm, LLC, a law firm focused on helping small business owners. A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she has been featured as an expert in USA Today, and has served as an adjunct professor for Rasmussen College.
Recognized as one of the most brilliant minds in education and business, Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon is transforming the lives of thousands of Black entrepreneurs across the world. Inspired by her mantra, “Support Is A Verb,” she founded the Village Market ATL, a vehicle that empowers the Black community through cooperative economics. The results of Lakeysha’s effort are impressive: so far, she’s served 1,440 businesses and facilitated $5.3 million of direct sales to Black-owned businesses.
After serving in the Peace Corps, Rahama launched Shea Yeleen, a DC-based social impact beauty brand that creates pure plant-based shea butter body care products and generates living-wage jobs for women in Ghana. Through her brand, Rahama is redefining beauty, empowering women and reimagining the way we do business to build a more equitable future for all.
Tamecca created FOLKUS, a brand of eco-friendly paper products inspired by the Black aesthetic and experience. Her mission is to use paper as a medium to tell a story and make environmental stewardship easy and cool.
Lillian has always been fascinated by product packaging that can give customers a memorable unboxing experience. So she created a company that helps emerging brands get their packaging right. MB Packaging also gives back to the community by offering free packaging assessment sessions to small businesses.
Inspired by her Haitian heritage and her mom’s incredible cooking skills, Ruby started Ruby Spice Inc. The business is a lifelong dream to introduce her mom’s version of the traditional Epis Zette (a seasoning mix recipe) to the world. Looking ahead, Ruby now dreams to see her products in every major supermarket and wellness shop across the world.
After 15 years of working for for-profit companies, Ayme found a new passion: sailing. She created an Instagram account dedicated to the sport and, fueled by her marketing background, got thousands of followers. This led her to start Sinclair Social, a digital agency that helps people grow their audiences.
Shermica was raised in the costume making tradition and trained in a variety of Caribbean dance styles. This led her to create Soka Tribe: a community that brings the joy of Caribbean carnival culture to people’s lives through dance classes, trips and performances.
Jamila’s partner, Alfonso, grew up with a Jamaican mother, so drinking tea was part of their daily life. When Alfonso shared the idea of opening Brooklyn Tea with Jamila, she was fascinated by the communal and joyful spirit surrounding the beverage. Today, besides creating a space that offers an escape through the love of tea and food, the couple also provides free tea education to the community.
Keba began blending and mixing essential oils and fragrances with shea butter as a way to alleviate her chronic dry skin. She then went on to study perfumery in renowned institutions in New York and started Butter By Keba. Now, her premium line of fragrances uses the technique of aromatherapy to lift the spirit of her customers through the power of scent.
Kafi’s entrepreneurial journey began with a crazy idea: making a perfect cookie that was crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. After countless attempts in her “compact” kitchen in NYC, the “Gooey on the Inside” cookie was born. Since then, Kafi’s business has been experimenting with flavors and ingredients in order to offer a unique take on an old favorite.
Kimberly was passionate about the world of fragrances and wanted to create a business that would give her community access to perfumes that they weren’t aware of. So she started Modern Urban Sensory Experiences (MUSE): a highly recognized perfume shop in historic Central Harlem that showcases and democratizes niche, indie and luxury fragrances, experiences and services.
Paige's Candle Co is a local candle company that handmakes vegan soy wax candles blended with phthalate-free fragrance and essential oils out of Queens & Brooklyn. Founder Paige Graham’s mission is to provide creative outlets for local inner city communities through craftsmanship and a portion of all sales are donated to City Harvest, a non-profit organization supplying food to hungry New Yorkers in need.
Born in Jamaica, Queens, to immigrant parents, Roniesia noticed the lack of tech education and resources within her community. So she started 21 Ethos, a program designed to give underserved youth opportunities to develop STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and life skills to help inspire future education and career choices.
Shantel has worked in the electrical field for almost 20 years, and during that time, she’s seen that Black women are amongst the first to get laid off from a project. That’s why she started AAA’s Electrical Contracting Corp., an electrical contracting company that aims to have 50% of its staff be women of color. Shantel’s goal is to provide a family-oriented work environment that helps provide financial security and stability to her employees.
Precious believes that pitches matter. That’s why she used her expertise as an international professional speaker to create Perfect Pitches by Precious, LLC. Her services have helped Fortune 500 companies, corporate executives and speakers deliver powerful, authentic and bold presentations. One of her main goals as an entrepreneur is to encourage other women in business to transform themselves internally and to better express their ideas.
Kim is a biologist, epidemiologist and a leader in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) movement. She is also passionate about nurturing young minds, which led her to create SciTech Kids. At her learning center, Kim sparks every child’s natural curiosity and spreads her philosophy that STEAM transforms how they see the world.
Taylar has always wished she had a full-circle resource to connect with and learn from other entrepreneurs. So she created one herself. Sip Shop Eat! is a community of entrepreneurs as well as a curated marketplace designed to showcase emerging brands. Through her company, she empowers unique small businesses and helps them gain visibility and connect to reach their full potential.
Ghylian created the Urban Yoga Foundation to incorporate equity and diversity into yoga and mindfulness programs. The practices target the needs of students of color and build a platform for teachers of color. Ghylian’s goal is to help people from the community she serves learn healing practices and reclaim self-love.
Jessica grew up in Harlem. In 2015, she decided to start a business combining her passion for chocolate and her love for her neighborhood. That’s when she partnered with Asha to create the Harlem Chocolate Factory, which conveys the cultural experiences of Harlem through its products, from the packaging to the recipes. Jessica and Asha’s ultimate goal is to bring diverse voices to the forefront of the chocolate industry.
Guided by her love for Haiti and her international palate, Okhela created a collection of sweet and savory sauces for a large variety of uses. Her company – Bazile Sauce – fuses unique ingredients from Haiti and other parts of the world to help the at-home cook on the go prepare delicious, flavorful food.
Raised in an immigrant family of entrepreneurs, Kelly Ifill is the founder and CEO of Guava, a digital bank that uplifts and stimulates the growth of Black-owned small businesses. Throughout a career that has taken her all over the world, Kelly’s north star has been to make it easier for Black and Latinx founders to have access to capital and networking opportunities, helping to close the racial wealth gap.
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