23 Black-Owned Organizations Leaving Their Stamp on Raleigh + Beyond
Diversity within our network not only creates a place of inclusion, but it also brings different perspectives to the table that inspire innovation and change. It’s imperative for us to continue to offer a workspace where employees can show up as their authentic selves, feel heard, and be champions in their field. In honor of Black History Month, we wanted to shine a light on all of the amazing Black-owned Businesses that call Raleigh Founded home.
1. Nation of Diversity
Nation of Diversity‘s mission is to help reduce homelessness and raise awareness for mental health through service to the community and hosting wellness events. They believe in breaking down stigmas that demonize the homeless and work to promote mindfulness through music and the arts. They work daily to change the stigma associated with homelessness, poverty, and mental health by working across boundaries and leveraging resources to enrich the lives of those living in underserved and marginalized communities.
STEMedia was created by Dr. Nehemiah Mabry to shed a unique light on the STEM field and showcase how creative and equally prestigious STEM careers are when compared to other careers highly admired by today’s youth. Today, STEMedia has a passionate audience of over 20,000 students and early-career professionals, predominantly within the Black and Brown community. Through videos, workshops, podcasts, and live events, STEMedia serves as a producer and platform for academic institutions, businesses, and organizations that are expanding efforts to broaden participation from traditionally underrepresented groups across the U.S..
3. Devize Creative
Devize Creative, formally known as Devon Lewis Designs, is a branding agency. Their mission is to help startups harness the power of an unforgettable brand. They believe that a strong brand is the foundation of any successful business, and that’s why they offer customized branding solutions that help their clients stand out in today’s competitive marketplace. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to revamp your existing brand, they can help you create a brand that truly reflects your unique vision and values. Did you know Devon Lewis was previously employed at Raleigh Founded from 2018-2023? He also came up with Raleigh Founded’s logo and brand! Graphic design is Devon’s passion so he works at EyeFortyDesign as a designer while he grows Devize Creative.
4. You Matter
One of our members, Cornelius Kirk, released a quote journal book inspired by his own childhood events. Within the book, you’ll find quotes from successful people from around the world. You’ll also have the opportunity to write your thoughts on how they apply to your personal life today. Cornelius is a Non-Profit Leader, Fatherhood Specialist with Wake County, and Podcaster with The Bro Code Show. He is also a father of five and loves his family and community. Keep an eye out for his next book on “Erasing Your Limiting Beliefs” coming very soon!
5. Pivotal IT
Established by Samantha Peart, a talented female entrepreneur of color, Pivotal IT offers a full range of services, including app development, cyber security, website infrastructure, cloud architecture, and big data. Pivotal IT works primarily with the federal government but has also worked with commercial clients as well. They provide DevSecOps, Cyber Security, and no code / low code business solutions. They also provide solutions in Cloud Architecture, Big Data, Application Sustainment, and Agile Development.
6. Oak City Fish and Chips
Oak City Fish and Chips began with just one food truck and two business partners who recognized the importance of representation in the seafood category. Soon, the business grew to include two restaurants, three food trucks, and an expansive menu of delicious food! Check out Oak City Fish and Chips for anything ranging from their titular dish to scallops, calamari, and shrimp.
7. BT Designs
BT Designs is a Raleigh-based digital marketing service. Owned by Bryan Tomlinson, BT Designs helps businesses attract and retain customers. Services provided include social media marketing, search engine optimization, graphic design, and more!
8. Bold and Luscious Cosmetics Co
Bold and Luscious Cosmetics has one goal – to create an inclusive brand that serves women of all colors, shapes, and sizes. From makeup to body butters, Bold and Luscious helps women of all backgrounds find confidence in themselves through finding the products they’ll love! Fun fact: Bold and Lucious Cosmetics Co is also a women-led business!
9. Hubb Kitchens
Hubb Kitchens owner, Jason Johnson, knows from experience how important it is for any restaurant, big or small, to have access to kitchen resources. Hubb Kitchens is a Raleigh-based food business space that offers kitchen capacity to entrepreneurs by eliminating the startup costs that are associated with having your own brick-and-mortar. Whether you’re looking to prepare and store food for a food truck or searching for a space to deliver and cater out of, Hubb Kitchen is the perfect place to meet your needs!
10. Aja Labs
Osahon Ojeaga was frustrated by the limited options Black women had to protect their hair. Fast forward to 2020, the concept of Nourie was born: a startup that makes plant-based braiding hair extensions that deliver nutrients to the scalp. Aja Labs is creating the next generation of safe-for-people and safe-for-the-planet fibers and materials by collaborating with nature. Nourie, the company’s first consumer brand, features patent-pending hair extensions, including a time-release function, delivering a nutrient complex over time during wear. Fun fact: Aja Labs is comprised of a team of Black scientists and innovators and their first product was developed in conjunction with North Carolina State University.
11. CliniSpan Health
CliniSpan Health is a software platform that is accelerating and diversifying clinical trial recruitment. They partner with local nonprofits to educate and promote clinical trials to their supporters via digital outreach and aim to build the first database for people of diverse backgrounds interested in clinical trials.
12. Divine Hearts
Divine Hearts is a Raleigh-based organization offering CPR and First Aid training to the greater Raleigh area and beyond. Whether you need training for your workplace, community members or healthcare providers, Divine Hearts believes that their customer’s needs are of paramount importance!
13. Khyiah T Byrd International Foundation
The Khyiah T Byrd International Foundation is a community outreach organization that aims to create spaces in which children living with special needs and their caregivers are empowered and supported. Founder Shakema McClean is an Iraq Veteran with a passion for advocacy and providing resources for special needs children in Raleigh.
14. Excellence Unbounded
Excellence Unbounded is on a mission to unlock the excellence that exists in every social entrepreneur leading the charge to challenge the status quo. As a coach, Shawnette Rochelle loves seeing people gain a fuller realization of who they are and what they’re capable of doing by helping them lean into their innate strengths to confront any challenge they face. Shawnette Rochelle is a certified executive coach and a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel with more than 20 years of experience (including 3 combat deployments) leading and coaching high-performance individuals, teams, and organizations in both peacetime and wartime. She’s even visited 35 countries across 6 continents which has given her a unique perspective and cultural sensitivities to better serve a diverse group of clients.
15. Black Diamond Financial Group
Black Diamond Financial Group provides insurance, employee benefits solutions, and tax services. They work one-on-one with their clients to obtain data about their financial resources and needs.
16. JT Rowland Consulting
Dr. Jonica Rowland is an accomplished Senior Executive, Consultant, Thought Leader, and Board Member with more than 30 years of success across the finance, research, sales development, education, and economic development industries. Leveraging experience with corporate sustainability and social impact, she is a valuable speaker and consultant for organizations wanting to show corporate citizenship.
Additionally, Dr. Rowland researched ways for business leaders to maintain sustainability by marketing in the new normal. Her research entails marketing, legacy, and retirement strategies to a multicultural society, women, and multi-generations. She is also grateful to be acknowledged in four books.
17. Bliss Beauty Bar
Bliss Face and Body Studio is the Triangle’s premier esthetics spa and makeup lounge specializing in an array of beauty, health, and wellness needs ranging from facials to makeup artistry, body contouring and Yoni Steams. Bliss is also a female empowerment hub and wellness incubator designed to engage and educate young women and girls about self-esteem, inner and outer beauty, nutrition, mental well-being and entrepreneurship. Me-Me Taylor is the CEO of Bliss Beauty Bar, as well as a licensed Esthetician, and Makeup Artist (MUA), and certified in Sugaring, Body Contouring, Yoni Steaming, and Teeth Whitening. For over 20 years, she has proven to be one of the Triangle’s most sought after makeup artists with an impressive list of celebrity clients. In November 2015, she launched her 3D Mink and Silk eyelash line – Bliss Lashes and Bliss Beauty Bar virtually, laying the foundation for Bliss Face and Body Studio.
Coworks is a flex space and coworking solution that streamlines operations such as managing members, sales, billing, room booking, resources, events, and more. Chief Innovator and Founder DeShawn Brown started Coworks back in 2018 out of HQ Raleigh. As the product has evolved, Raleigh Founded has offered a space for Coworks to test real-time issues. Coworks’ mission is to make Coworking accessible and manageable for all by providing key data, insight, and optimization tools to manage and forecast their space.
Andre Smith is the founder of Chosn, a Relationship App that uses behavioral science to deepen and enrich your existing relationships. A breakup that occurred over ten years ago led Andre on a journey of self-discovery however, he struggled to apply what he had learned about himself to his relationships with others.
He started Chosn so that people can be in control of what they want to improve on their self-discovery journey. The app provides personalized feedback to get to know yourself and gain a level of introspection to better understand your needs.
20. TMT Youth Community
Too Much Tv is an internet broadcasting company that produces original movies, sitcoms, and educational programs. Founded by Tamisha Thomas, the primary focus is to expose and train youth of color living in vulnerable communities in S.T.E.A.M careers to prepare them for post secondary education and entrepreneurial success in our global economy. TMT also offers extended learning programs that provide opportunities for students to get assistance with career readiness outside of the regular school day.
21. Young Men 4 Christ
YM4C, Young Men 4 Christ is a registered nonprofit mentor program created to plant seeds of hope, love, respect, creativity, and self-worth. This is done through character-based education, life skills training, and promoting physical activity. YM4C is committed to empowering youth through life skills and character development. A positive influence and a positive environment bring out the best in young people.
Troy currently serves as the Executive Director for nonprofit, YM4C – Young Men 4 Christ, YM4C empowers, educates, and equips young men ages 7 – 17 with life skills, SEL training and character development workshops. Troy also serves as Executive Producer to TV Show, The Bro Code. A platform that promotes the humane side of humanity through highlighting people with courageous stories, gifts, and talents.
22. Blackology Coffee Co.
Blackology Coffee Co. is a black woman-owned online coffee business that was launched by Lori Jones in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a single mother of two boys with a background in Culinary Arts, Lori launched Blackology to share her love of black coffee with the world. Blackology specializes in online retail coffee, apparel, wholesale coffee, and events and they’ve recently opened a storefront inside the Alexander Family YMCA! Lori’s ultimate end goal is to have a shop of her own in a black neighborhood where she can provide scholarships and grants to others wanting to open their own business.
23. Truth Meet Story, LLC.
Alexus Rhone is a writer, producer, artistic theologian and “revolutionary artist” devoted to candidly exploring the power of truth when ‘dressed’ in story. Founder of Truth Meet Story, LLC, expanding empathy one story at a time, Lex tells stories on diverse platforms – on page, stage, screen, web, radio and podcasts. She also coaches others on how to tell stories and curates brand-sponsored live storytelling events around the country. With over 20 years experience working in the private/corporate sector customizing workshops and branded events, and coaching creative and true, first-person storytellers for live events, her professional roster includes GANNETT/USA Today Network, Lutheran Hostel, City of Phoenix, Raleigh Public Arts and City of Dallas/Office of Arts and Culture.
Ultimately, Black History Month is a great time for our community to engage in events and open dialogue. However, it’s also important to continue these conversations outside of the month of February. At Raleigh Founded, we want to use our resources to support those working on diversity, equity, and inclusion work. If you or someone you know is championing this initiative, please send them this application for three months of free coworking at Raleigh Founded!