A 12-week intensive for black-owned early-stage businesses to prepare them for capital access that also provides free legal (key business document preparation and advising), accounting (quickbooks training, tax preparation, financial statements and projections), and marketing resources (website development, branding assistance, social media planning, etc.).
Join Our B-Force Accelerator!
- Business Plan
- Pro-forma Financials
- Capital-Ready Pitch Deck
- Provide free strategic, organization, and financial planning leading to access to capital for early-stage black business owners
- Provide free technical assistance in the form of accounting, legal, and marketing services to program participants
- Provide access to traditional capital and venture capital resources to program participants
Alexandria Gamble-Davis has worked in the mental health field for over ten years. She is passionate about serving as a change servant and advocates for individuals who are underserved. She enjoys improving the community by advocating and confronting social justice. Her company’s (Milestone) policy, is to improve the quality of life for individuals.
Allison is the Founder of Black please. Coffee. Prior to her current career in business and entertainment, Allison worked in Corporate America as a Human Resources professional for 9 years. Allison holds a Master’s degree in Human Development and Human Resources from the George Washington University and a Bachelors in Business Management from Norfolk StateUniversity. #BeholdAllison is a Partner at Prodigy Capital Consulting which works with early-stage businesses in the Venture Capital community. Her journey made her passionate about equity in business and finance in the Black community. She supports small and minority-owned enterprises with strategic advisory services to help secure capital to start, grow and scale their businesses.
Brian is a Virginia Beach-raised creative and business professional with a passion for the people. He began his journey of entrepreneurship through music. Owens has been a professional musician and music business strategist for over a decade. His band, The Special Guests, has been especially impactful in the 757 by raising money and awareness for Hampton Roads based charitable causes, working with local business owners, planning shows at the Norva, and opening First Fridays on Granby St in Norfolk. Owens was Chief Communications Officer and co-founder of the neuroscience-based music-tech startup, Secret Chord Laboratories. He has been responsible for fundraising, corporate strategy, establishing and growing strategic partnerships, and communications both internally and externally. Through SCL, Owens has been able to nurture an expanding network of business mentors, tech startups, entrepreneurs, investors, music professionals, community leaders and influencers.
Clarence earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting at NSU and a Master of Science in Accounting from ODU. His expertise includes providing financial and tax strategies to Business Startups, Home Based Businesses, and MLM Businesses. He also provides financial management strategies for Real Estate Professionals, music professionals, and entertainment firms. Clarence also holds the following professional designations which include CPA (Certified Public Accountant), EA (Enrolled Agent), CTRS (Certified Tax Resolution Specialist), CMA (Certified Management Accountant), CFM (Certified Financial Manager), and CIA (Certified Internal Auditor).
Claudine Ellis has been a real estate practitioner for over 15 years. Her goal as a real estate professional is to serve her clients, put their needs first and give them an outstanding buying experience. Mrs. Ellis is extremely passionate about the real estate industry and strongly believes real estate is an extension of who she is. Claudine is not only a real estate practitioner but also an investor. She has been one of Coastal Virginia’s Top agents since the inception of her career. Her accolades are numerous, but to name a few: She has been recognized by many organizations and has earned the Top 100 Award, Woman of Achievement Award from ACHI Magazine, Quadruple Gold Award from Keller Williams. She has been recognized by the HRRA Association where she received the Circle of Excellence Platinum Award as a Top Real EstateProducer, the Longevity Award for 10 plus years of success in the business, and the Diamond Award-the highest award achievable for agents who produce over $10 million in new home sales.
Crystal Cobbs is the CEO of Cobbs Enterprise LLC. She graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in Human Services Counseling. Her relationship-building skills has made her transition into business consulting a natural one. She has over 19 years of business experience in multiple industries. Crystal started Cobbs Consulting to give businesses and organizations the critical infrastructure, resources, and relationships they need to establish, stabilize, and grow. She knows that starting and running any business or organization is a tough call that can go wrong when necessary help or guidance is lacking. Her duty is to step in and create the pipeline to access everything they need to stabilize, survive, and scale. By connecting them to social, human, and financial resources, we empower them for growth, transformation, and sustainability. Cobbs Consulting desires that our customers succeed because this ultimately becomes proof of our success.
Deonna Lindsay-Lewis is the owner of BrandSmash Studio: a company on a mission to help limited edition creatives and niche businesses build black sheep brands. The approach; helping companies spin the elements that make them undeniable into 100-proof brands that are unforgettable and sellable from the very start. Her signature program, The Black Sheep Brand Plan, helps brands to reimagine the ways they show up and make money in an increasingly online world-from creative naming while building irresistible services or sponsorships to logos and websites that start all of the right conversations. With 13 years of marketing and branding experience, Deonna has worked with hundreds of small businesses, nonprofits, and corporations- helping them to lean into what makes them one-of-a-kind in order to build brands and campaigns that people care deeply about and fall in love with.
Dr. Angela D. Reddix is a visionary and innovative thinker with global perspective and entrepreneurial drive. As a passionate mentor and advisor to the next generation of young girls and women, Dr. Reddix is a leading advocate for entrepreneurship as a way of creating positive transformation in the world. Her own entrepreneurial drive led to the formation of ARDX, a multi-million-dollar award-winning healthcare management and IT consulting firm with approximately 100 employees dedicated to improving the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable populations.
Dr. Reddix is the Founder of Envision Lead Grow, a Norfolk-based nonprofit organization aimed at aspiring girls of all ages to chart their destinies by teaching them the critical skills and dedication it takes to accomplish their dreams through entrepreneurship. She is the author of Envision Lead Grow – Releasing the Boss Within, where she shares her knowledge and insights to help women of all ages build their businesses and improve their lives. The principles Dr. Reddix shares shift their mindset from helpless to a life of purpose and fulfillment. She is also the co-author of Business Success Secrets: Entrepreneurial Thinking That Works.
Dr. Dionne Gibbs, RN, BS, MSN, Ph.D. (affectionately known as Dr. D) is the owner and operator of Shades of Life, LLC where she offers life coaching and consulting to women. Dr. Gibbs is the founder of the Hampton Roads Health Symposium, Shades of Life Medical Training Institute, and the author of The Shades of Life that Revealed the She in Me. She is a Life Coach with almost 30 years of experience in the healthcare field working as a nurse: educating, coaching, supporting, and developing individuals into the leaders of tomorrow. She is a skilled practitioner in the cutting-edge field of adult education, career development, curriculum design, and teaching a diverse group of learners. Her background includes working in higher education leadership as a dean of nursing and a regional dean of nursing along with expertise in strategic planning, change and conflict management, effective communication, and talent development. Today, Dr. Gibbs has a global and professional pursuit of educating, elevating, and empowering her clients of all ages to help them reach their highest potential in their personal and professional life.
James A. Young is the Vice President and Director of Tax and Accounting Services at CLP Financial Group. Through the business James and his team provide financial planning, assessment management, and insurance planning services to the public. Shortly after his time in the Navy, James enrolled in school earning his degree from Norfolk State University, and then went on to Old Dominion University, earning his Master of Business and Master of Accountancy. James has over 20 years of experience in public accounting and is a United States Navy veteran.
Jennifer C. Lacey, Esq. received her B.A. from the University of Virginia and her J.D. from Stanford Law School. Ms. Lacey helps local businesses by providing corporate law services to small businesses and entrepreneurs, and non-profit legal services to community charities. She was previously awarded a contract with the City of Norfolk, Virginia to provide legal services to the businesses located within the City’s Empowerment Zones. Ms. Lacey has spoken at various business seminars conducted by local nonprofit organizations in the Hampton Roads area and for the Small Business Administration (SBA) throughout the State. In addition to helping businesses, she also assists individuals with family law services, including child custody, child and spousal support, and divorce.
Karen Hills Pruden is a Senior Certified Human Resources Executive with over 20 years of experience in Operations, Human Resources, and Organizational Leadership. Dr. Pruden is a multi-preneur who works as the Chief Human Resource Officer/Assistant Vice President for a Virginia University and the Founder/CEO of Pruden Global Business Solutions Consulting. Dr. Pruden is extremely service-oriented with a combination of intuitive and analytical abilities. Dr. Pruden is astute in identifying areas of improvement, with a vision to develop and implement successful organizational strategic action plans. Dr. Pruden consistently demonstrates exceptional knowledge and sound decision-making abilities in the following areas:
- Talent Acquisition, Talent Development & Talent Retention Strategies
- Human Resources Management
- Organizational Effectiveness
- Employee Relations
- Root Cause Analysis
- Operations Management
- Organizational Structure and Design
- Labor Relations/Collective Bargaining
- Workforce Planning
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Career Counseling
Lilly Mbinglo is a Licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the founder and CEO of The ARK NPS, an accounting firm that offers Startup, Accounting, Bookkeeping, Tax, and Management Consulting to businesses, nonprofits, churches, and individuals. The ARK NPS currently has offices in Virginia, Houston, Chicago, and Atlanta.
Lilly enjoys using her knowledge and skills to empower organizations with strategies that ensure their financial structures align with their short and long-term goals. She also loves helping people minimize their tax liability, so they can direct their resources towards investments that will build generational wealth.
Lilly Mbinglo describes herself as a fun-loving CPA with a heart for PEOPLE, a desire to SERVE, and a passion for LEADERSHIP. Lilly is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership at Regent University with an end-goal to change the world by transforming the hearts and minds of leaders, one at a time.
Lilly’s motto is God first, people next, and then money and things.
Armed with more than a decade of experience brokering multimillion-dollar contracts on behalf of the federal government, Founder and CEO of Clear Advantage, Ramone Pierce, is using the knowledge he has gained to help small businesses secure government contracts. Mr. Pierce has a formidable track record working for entities such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He uses his expertise and experience to walk you through the steps of pitching, preparing the proper documents, and negotiating contracts.
Mr. Pierce is a Virginia native that is a big proponent of economic advancement in historically marginalized communities and helping small business owners reach their financial goals. As the chief consultant and Levell III DAWIA certified contract specialist, he understands the complexities of securing government contracts and exactly what fellow contract specialists are looking for when they read your proposals.
Mr. Pierce holds both an MBA and a B.S. in Business Administration from Saint Leo University. His professional affiliations include the National Contract Management (NCMA), the Urban League of Hampton Roads, and the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Hampton Roads.
Randy Williams is the President of Talley & Twine, a company that designs and manufactures luxury watches and accessories. Since starting the company in 2014, Randy has gained national media attention with features in Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise, and The Huffington Post.
The Camilla, Georgia native and a graduate of Albany State University has a passion for serving the community, and Talley & Twine recently received the CoVABiz Community Impact Award. His book, 7 Questions Every Young Leader Must Answer, has been used by schools and community organizations as a model to teach young people how to think and act like leaders.
Randy lives in Portsmouth, Virginia with his wife and daughter.
Reneldo Randall, M.B.A. is a dynamic and savvy authority on successful leadership in advancing human and intellectual capital with 18+ years of leadership experience, 13+ years of business experience, and more than 15k hours of advising and coaching. Mr. Randall is currently employed by Old Dominion University as the Director of Advising for the College of Sciences and the Co-chair for the Pre-Health Advisory Committee. He is formally an adjunct business professor at Bryant and Stratton College.
He serves as the chair of the board of directors for the Black BRAND the Hampton Roads Black Chamber of Commerce, Is the co-founder and CEO of a local non-profit, is a minority business investor, and is a graduate of The United Way’s award-winning Project Inclusion Board Governance Leadership program. He has experience starting and running two consulting businesses and is a published author.
Mr. Randall is a big-picture visionary who understands how daily operations shape results and goals. As a motivated achiever, he is recognized domestically and abroad for combining excellence, integrity, and innovation with best practices and “common sense” to achieve immediate and long-term goals. As a higher education administrator, non-profit leader, business strategist, and leadership consultant he is an effective manager of people with unsurpassed interpersonal skills.
CEO/Founder Ronald Lewis is a recently retired Army General who graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Ron has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in National Security and StrategicStudies from the United States Naval War College. Ron has 30 years of senior executive experience in Defense, Aerospace, Acquisition, GlobalSecurity, and Public Affairs. He spent most of his career working as a strategist, leader, and manager. The organizations he led ranged in size from 30 to 20,000 personnel. Much of his recent military experience in the Pentagon was at the cabinet level operating across the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Asia-Pacific regions. General Lewis is uniquely qualified to train on personal resiliency, leader and team development, culture change, and crisis preparedness. He has comprehensive experience as a trainer/coach in the military and in the civilian workforce. Both statesman and former-warrior, he is a sought after transformational leader, speaker, and complex problem solver.
Shemica Copeland, MPA, owner of Access Business Solutions, and managing partner of Greenwood Conglomerate contributes over 18 years of experience in management, human resources, training, and administration. Passionate about proactive solutions, Copeland combines her experience, research, and education to create a healthier workforce and systems of goal achievement for individuals, small businesses, and nonprofits.
Access Business Solutions exists to alleviate administrative burdens, allowing business owners to focus on growth, increasing profits, and sustainability. We provide education, tools, and resources in the areas of organizational health, professional development, capacity building, human resources, and payroll.
Born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, Sunshine M. Swinson is a dynamic, multifaceted professional, community activist, and serial entrepreneur. Her professional portfolio encompasses progressive experience in public administration, logistics, budgeting, acquisitions, research analysis, and child/adult education. She is currently a full-time entrepreneur with businesses spanning from Business Consulting/Coaching to running multiple lounges and restaurants.
Sunshine holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Norfolk State University, two Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Public Administration, and holds a Doctorial Certificate in Public Administration with a concentration in Sustainable Communities pending completion of her dissertation.
In her free time, she enjoys mentoring future business owners, speaking at conferences, volunteering on various community relation projects, and leading dance fitness classes. Sunshine is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and functions under the motto: “Excellence is my Standard…not my Goal!”