The Crusader Newspaper Group

Chevrolet’s “Step Up” initiative supports Black business owners driving change every day

Photo caption: Jahmal Cole, Founder & CEO, My Block My Hood My City

Black Entrepreneurs Receive $20,000 Donation to Fuel Community Impact

Chevrolet’s “Step Up” initiative celebrates and rewards Black businesses that are making a positive impact on the community every day. In recognition of Black Business Month, Chevy identified five Black entrepreneurs who are driving change and awarded each a $20,000 donation to further their mission. These exceptional leaders not only saw a need, but took action and stepped up to use their power and influence for good. From social impact and education, to digital health and healthy dining, sustainability and environmental justice, to creating access to financial capital, these dynamic trailblazers are resilient, determined, and a driving force. Chevy salutes these Black business owners and entrepreneurs like them who inspire us all.

Five entrepreneurs were awarded Chevy’s “Step Up” grants including:

• Jahmal Cole, Founder & CEO, My Block My Hood My City (Chicago, Illinois)

A champion of social justice, Jahmal Cole’s mission is to build a more interconnected Chicago on the pillars of service and education. As the founder and CEO of the city’s fastest growing social impact organization, My Block My Hood My City, Jahmal is the creator of an exposure-based education program for teens and a network of volunteer initiatives that serve Chicago communities year-round.

• Kwasi Kyei, Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer, Handspring Health
(Newark, New Jersey)

Kwasi Kyei is a co-founder & chief operating officer at Handspring Health, a digital health company that is building a fully vertically-integrated care model for youth behavioral health space. Through an experienced clinical team, a virtual health platform, modern clinics, and health plan partnerships, Handspring will provide higher quality mental healthcare to youth that empowers them to lead resilient and fulfilling lives.

• Pashon Murray, Co-founder, Detroit Dirt
(Detroit, Michigan)

Pashon Murray is an environmental entrepreneur, activist and educator who has been working towards sustainable solutions and environmental justice for 18 years. Her advocacy moved to the national stage in 2008 and 2009 as Pashon lobbied for various climate initiatives in Washington D.C.; working with organizations like Sierra Club, Repower America and the National Wildlife Federation. In 2010 Pashon Co-founded Detroit Dirt, a revolutionary composting company that provides materials management diversion from landfills and food waste solutions. In 2017 the Detroit Dirt Foundation (DDF) was created and Culture of Carbon (C2) consultancy was established the following year. DDF and C2 focuses on curriculum development, education, energy, research and reducing carbon emissions.

• Omi Bell, Founder & CEO, Black Girl Ventures (Alexandria, Virginia)

Omi Bell is a multi-talented computer scientist, business strategist, successful author and serial entrepreneur. She also has a background in performance, K-12 Education, and IP Strategy. Her innovative approach to creating access to social and financial capital has earned her recognition as a leading voice in the industry, as well as praise from prominent figures such as Robert F. Smith and Daymond John. As the founder of and CEO of Black Girl Ventures, Omi has made it her mission to provide resources and support to underrepresented entrepreneurs, funding over 300 women-owned businesses. She has also testified in front of Congress and rang the Nasdaq closing bell, highlighting her dedication and commitment to creating positive change. Omi also authored a book: Originate, Motivate, Innovate: 7 Steps to Building a Billion Dollar Network; that teaches entrepreneurs how to find mindsets, tools, tactics, and strategies to succeed. Under Omi’s leadership, Black Girl Ventures has funded over 300 women founders representing about $10MM in revenue, creating over 3,000 jobs for the US economy and raising $5M in financial and social capital. Her impact extends beyond her organization, as she continues to be an advocate for social justice and equity in the business world.

• Bettina Thomas, Owner, Vege-licious
(Nashville, Tennessee)

With over 20 years of Vegan, Vegetarian and Raw Food Prep expertise, Bettina Thomas is dedicated to the satisfaction of her customers’ appetite and giving them the dining experience that will keep them coming back for more. She is committed to serving the community meals that are both good for them and full of flavor, that will leave them energetic and renewed from the inside out.

Recent News

Scroll to Top