Meet the first graduates of the First Founders Accelerator

When Garry Johnson, one of the organizers of the Raising Kings “I Have a Dream” pitch competition for youth of color, started the First Founders Accelerator, he imagined a program that would help underrepresented people of all ages — not just youth — follow their entrepreneurial dreams.

With the help of New Castle County Innovates1313 Innovation and the Emerging Enterprise Center, First Founders has completed its inaugural 12-week cohort of a startup bootcamp designed to train early-stage, underrepresented entrepreneurs to develop scalable businesses.

It now has seven new up-and-coming startups to show for it.

“Our mission is to prepare underrepresented founders for success in the innovation economy,” Johnson told “Over the course of 12 weeks, founders received mentorship from Dora Cheatham, Denita Henderson, Pedro Moore, Rysheema Dixon, Jessica Gibson and Gregory Whilby. Wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Tamarra Morris, the director of economic development, and Matt Meyer, county executive.”

Here are the first round of grads and their ventures (descriptions provided)

Ireida Grabill, Language Liaisons — An organization providing translation, language tutoring and interpreting training, providing on-site qualified and certified interpreters in any community setting

Constance MilesTaMi CaRa Designs — Ready-to-wear fashion making every woman feel like she has the perfect body

Kemba HallHairSense — A unifying social platform for hair, simplifying the hair care experience

Moises VelazquezYummie Creative — A creative content company specializing in creating tasty ideas for hungry minds

Michael ShumateKeyhole Games — The Outcasts: Guardian Angel is a story-driven video game with an emphasis on mental health awareness and societal issues

Geronimo VannicolaWavLabs Studios — Recording, multi-genre mixing and mastering, custom production, scoring, sound design, education and community

William Young and Amy Sassaman, Black Diamond — A social networking event and branding company spurring economic development and brand building through public-private partnerships in Delaware

The Delaware SBDC, a unit of the University of Delaware’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP), is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the State of Delaware. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or the sponsoring agencies. All programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. As equal opportunity/affirmative action employers, the SBA, the University of Delaware and the State of Delaware are all committed to assuring equal opportunity to all persons. The University of Delaware is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and Title IX institution. For the University’s complete non-discrimination statement, please visit - powered by Enfold WordPress Theme