Black Business Accelerator - Summer 2021 Cohort

Markiss Cooper –
Coopz Delivery Solutions

Markiss and his wife, Ashley, co-founded iHaul Delivery in 2018 to provide delivery and hauling services throughout the Tacoma/Pierce County area. 

Markiss is a Tacoman with deep roots throughout the community. As someone who’s seen and experienced the American blue collar lifestyle, Markiss sees tremendous value in uplifting people through livable wages and upward mobility. After a strong day at iHaul, Markiss looks forward to time with Ashley and their four children. He also loves to cook, play/watch sports, and hang out with his large, extended family.

Lisa “L.A.” Dowell-Ennis –
An Event to Envy by L.A.

Lisa is a sophisticated visual storyteller and experience-maker whose talent finally came to the fore in 2018 with An Event to Envy by L.A. As a dedicated professional backed by a team of elite creatives and logisticians, An Event to Envy by L.A is fully dedicated to creating both inimitable and enviable events and experiences throughout Tacoma, Pierce County and the entire Pacific Northwest. 

Lisa is a compassionate leader whose vision has led her through crippling challenges and overwhelming barriers in her life. As a creative, Lisa prefers to transmute past pains, current obstacles and future worries into works of art. She is an advocate of economic equality and freedom for marginalized communities and works hard to build a legacy that will serve everyone from entry to executive levels.

Aneicia Ford –
Coco Melanin

Mother, model, maker—Aneicia is the founding inventor and owner of Coco Melanin, an eczema sensitive, 100% Vegan skincare line inspired by her youngest daughter.

Aneicia spent most of her professional career in customer service and, eventually, entered the medical administration field with specialization in EKG monitoring and health unit coordination. In 2020, during the global pandemic, she decided to take her homemade, organic products to market after much fanfare from friends and family. Outside of her day job at the hospital, Aneicia is usually with her children, modeling, or filling increasing orders for Coco Melanin.

Simone Hentley –
Galaxy Dance Fitness Studio

As a US Airforce Veteran, Simone knows exactly what it takes to show up, to build, and to perform at the highest level. Her training paired with her passion for dance culminated into the Galaxy Dance Studio, which she founded during the global pandemic of 2020. 

Simone is a Hilltop, Tacoma native with a passion for transformative leadership. Her worldly travels lend a diverse perspective on how to deliver a robust service that goes further than its storefront. Simone is an activist for black lives and understands the impact a strong business model can have on underserved communities. As a trilingual founder, she hopes to build her company through multicultural channels and glean from various cultural influences. When she’s not helping to change the world, Simone enjoys traveling and spending time with loved ones. 

Bridgette Johnson –
BIMA Services

Bridgette founded BIMA (Believing In Myself Again) Services in 2017 in reaction to the rising homelessness issue facing the Pierce County area. Her nonprofit provides community outreach, resources and a safe haven to individuals and families who have lost their voice and don’t know where to turn. 

Bridgette’s own experience with homelessness 17 years ago combined with her accreditation as a Substance Abuse Counselor and Social Worker, eventually was her guiding light to start BIMA alongside her husband, Marvin. Her front row seat to sudden upheaval and loss enabled Bridgette with the skills, insight and heart space to be a beacon of hope to others in need. In her spare time Bridgette enjoys cooking, singing and traveling. 

Patrice Norwood –
P’Oshuns Collective

Patrice founded P’Oshun’s Collective in the spirit of total mind+body wellness during the summer of 2020. Though the company was in the making for some time, the global health crisis spurred her into action as she observed disproportionate suffering in underserved communities.  

Since childhood Patrice has always had an affinity for building something from nothing. Her steadfast determination enables her to invest wholeheartedly into her passions including her family, her business, and travel. Patrice is also an advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as ending cancer. As the company expands she plans to donate a portion of proceeds to each of these causes. Outside of work you can find Patrice traveling, cooking, and spending time with her beloveds.

Michael Okoro –
Limitless Apparel, LLC

Michael founded Limitless Apparel in 2019 as a way to connect his creative vision with athletics. His personal philosophy centers on doing, giving and being your best in order to create a limitless life. 

Michael has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, which is why he’s inspired by some of athletic wear’s greats including the founders of FUBU and Nike. Narrowing the racial wealth gap is one of Michael’s core missions in life, which is why sports and fashion have always appealed to him as they’ve both created bootstrapped millionaires. Michael spends most of his free time studying industry leaders, making music, and working out.

Karen Stringer –
The Bajan Station, LLC

Karen is a founding member, along with her sister Monique Stringer-Olomidun and their grown children, of The Bajan Station, LLC—a quick-service, whole ingredients inspired food truck that boasts the rich culture and flavors of the Caribbean based in Tacoma, WA. 

Karen loves adding value to people’s lives through time spent, excellent food, and advocating for social justice in underserved communities. She has spent her career teaching special education in public schools and has recently gained experience in restaurant service and management. While building The Baja Station is her primary job function by day, Karen also enjoys gardening, being outdoors, and socializing at various functions around town.

Nashonne Watkins –
Nextraordinary People, LLC

Nashonne has worked in the corporate recruitment industry for over 15 years and is an expert in talent acquisition. As a seasoned recruiter, she is passionate about helping candidates showcase their best selves and hiring teams conduct highly effective interviews, which is why she founded Nextraordinary People.

She is a powerhouse who aims to leverage her high energy, creativity, agility, and industry relationships into a firm of her own. 

Nashonne is an empathetic business leader who is passionate about being a voice for those that are underrepresented. In addition to her work, Nashonne is also a member of several trade associations and leadership groups. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, experiencing new adventures, connecting with nature, and listening to all genres of music.

Davon White –
Route586 Consulting, LLC

Davon is a passionate community leader who believes that a well-told story can help change the world. That’s why he founded Route586 Consulting—a marketing and branding firm based in Hilltop, Tacoma that specializes in the art and business of storytelling. 

As someone who values unique perspectives and identities, Davon works intentionally to weave the founder’s vision into the company’s culture and narrative. Being of service is of utmost importance to Davon and is evident in his work throughout the community.  When he’s not writing, editing or creating Davon enjoys a mile run, hanging out with close friends, or playing chess.

Milah Williams –
The Greedy Vegan

Milah founded The Greedy Vegan with her husband, Joseph, in an effort to deliver a healthy, sustainable and delicious vegan menu to everyone—including meat lovers. Her vision is to provide transitional food education resources to communities that don’t traditionally have access to quality ingredients or options. 

Milah is a strong community advocate whose major focus hinges on food access and the economic barriers that prevent marginalized groups from obtaining nourishing foods. As a wellness polymath, Milah has always worked with her hands to create and help others achieve wellness either through hair styling, massage therapy or cooking. She enjoys hiking, traveling and spending time with her husband and their 6 children.

Mahalia Wells –
Coral Crush Enterprises, LLC

Mahalia founded Coral Crush Enterprises in 2019 with a mission to provide high quality skincare products and services to every woman. She is committed to building a beauty and hospitality brand that’s guided by looking and, more importantly, feeling good. 

Mahalia is an enthusiastic supporter of women’s rights and takes her own unique stand for the health and healing of Black women in particular. Her high energy and dedication are evident throughout each aspect of her work, which has garnered Mahalia a significant following over a short period of time. When it’s time to blow off steam you can find her with friends and family or talking excitedly about current events and causes.