Program supports Black founders of early stage startups


Louisville, Ky. (May 9, 2023) – Today, Metro United Way and FundBLACKFounders joined to announce the 15 Louisville-based Black founded businesses that will receive early-stage financial support through the initiative. The innovative program supports early-stage startups founded by Black entrepreneurs, helping them to bring their ideas to life and grow their businesses. Recipients will receive up to $25,000 matching crowdfunding grants.

“We are so proud to partner with FundBLACKFouners. This initiative truly brings our focus on economic mobility and equity to life,” said Adria Johnson, president and CEO of Metro United Way. “Through our work, we know that by creating opportunities we are also creating change that will impact our community, neighborhoods and the people who live here.”

FundBLACKFounders provides support to early-stage Black-founded businesses. Black-owned businesses face an uphill climb when compared to white-owned businesses:

  • Only 1 % of start-up capital accrues to Black entrepreneurs.
  • The average white business starts with $107,000 and the average Black business only has $35,000.
  • Black individuals represent 14.2% of the US population but only 2.2% of employer businesses.
  • If Black-owned businesses were equivalent to their representative size of the U.S. population, there would be 806,218 more Black-owned businesses.
  • Black-owned businesses are much more likely to hire Black workers.

“FundBLACKFounders is fiercely committed to the mission of funding every Black entrepreneur,” said Renee King, founder and CEO of FundBLACKFounders. “The partnership between our organization, Metro United Way and our inaugural founder cohort is a testament to the belief that it takes a village to raise a Black-owned business. Together, we are breaking down barriers, fostering growth, and empowering communities. We’re honored to be part of this work, and I am confident that through our collective efforts, we will rewrite the narrative and pave the way for generations of thriving Black-owned businesses.”

The recipients of FundBLACKFounders are:

Nicole Scott
Business Name: Nicole Scott Inc.
Business Description: Handmade, ethically produced, clothing and accessories.
Business Website:
Nachand Trabue
Business Name: Mellanaire Marketplace
Business Description: A retail incubator space that provides entrepreneurs with a space to sell their products & wares.
Business Website:
Lafesa Johnson
Business Name: Hip Hop Sweet Shop
Business Description: A nostalgic, hip-hop experience while serving trendy milkshakes, cheesecakes, and various baked goods.
Business Website:
Roderick Shawn Summerville
Business Name: Ebony GreensTM, LLC
Business Description: A premier black-owned golf apparel enterprise.
Business Website:
Aaron Jordan
Business Name: Black Complex Louisville
Business Description: A coworking space and member community offering workspace, professional development, high-level networking, and social experiences.
Business Website:
Lecresha Sewell
Business Name: Melanated Healthcare, Inc.
Business Description: A digital health platform that connects Black and people of color to health professionals that share the same racial or cultural background.
Business Website:
JoCari Beattie
Business Name: JoBé Products
Business Description: A portable desk that transforms into a backpack called Besk.
Business Website:
Michael Jackson
Business Name: Kentucky Greens Company
Business Description: A wide range of leafy greens, Salad Mixes, microgreens & Cooking Greens grown Hydroponically using zero pesticides or chemicals.
Business Website:
Mariha Fisher
Business Name: Bonnet Bandits
Business Description: Experience the ultimate beauty sleep with our Luxe Collection bonnets and pillowcases – the perfect addition to your nightly routine!
Business Website:
Bridgette Johnson
Business Name: W.O.W. Factor Academy LLC
Business Description: A non-traditional preschool of innovation edutainment with WOW is to use Edutainment, to keep children involved and interested in learning.
Business Website:
Shauntrice Martin
Business Name: Chahta Noir
Business Description: Fine arts & artist development
Business Website:
Ronyale Smith
Business Name: Blak Koffee Cafe
Business Description: A full-service coffee shop where business, culture, and coffee meet!
Business Website:


FundBLACKFounders is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform doubling down on Black founders through culturally relevant resources resulting in the birth of more Black businesses. Black founders receive 1% of venture capital funding, yet generate $150 billion in revenue. With $1.2 trillion in Black spending power, there is money being left on the table – investing in Black founders is smart business.

The mission of FundBLACKFounders is to disrupt dreams deferred due to a lack of funding. FundBlackFounders empowers Black entrepreneurs and business owners to raise capital for their startups via the rewards-based crowdfunding platform.


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