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Halcyon Incubator launches program for DC startups

10 businesses were chosen for the pilot program who seek to serve under-resourced neighborhoods in D.C.

WASHINGTON — Ten local entrepreneurs are beginning business bootcamp with startup incubator Halcyon, called "Opportunity Intensive." The fellowship program includes two weeklong residencies at Halcyon House throughout 2020, focusing on mentorship, networking and honing skills. 

This is Halcyon's first custom incubator program for local entrepreneurs, and they partnered with 1863 Ventures and Black Girl Ventures to select businesses for the pilot program that serve under-resourced communities in the District. Homme DC, for example, offers gallery space to emerging artists in a variety of mediums who otherwise wouldn't have access to 

Beyond the week residencies, participants will pay monthly visits to Halcyon tailored to specific skill development like investment pitching, marketing and branding. Then in December, the entrepreneurs present their business to the full Halcyon community.  

"Halcyon’s programming centers around the idea of providing space, community, and access to people with the potential to drive massive impact, but who might not always be the most likely recipients of resources," Halcyon CEO and Co-Founder Kate Goodall said. "The Opportunity Intensive has identified Fellows right in our backyard whose work has a positive impact that deserves to be amplified."

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Learn more about the participants and businesses below. 

Invest Sou Sou is a social banking platform designed to help banks and financial services companies attract and retain customers from target market segments and create lending opportunities. People use Sou Sou to save, build strong credit, or invest with people they trust at their local bank. Founder Fonta Gilliam was inspired to start Invest Sou Sou after working for over ten years as an American diplomat in East Asia and Africa.

Southeastern Roastery is a venture that curates sense-focused direct trade specialty coffee experiences for culinary and inexperienced palates seeking human connections through each coffee’s story. Founder Candy Schibli has combined her skills in chemical engineering, international affairs, and sustainable development to build a coffee company focused on supporting gender equity.

Dafero makes snack time sweet, crafting sweet treats everyone can enjoy. Imagine a vegan chocolate candy bar that "tastes like the real thing." Dafero’s food is delicious and their mission makes it sweeter because Dafero creates and distributes self-reliance programs for vulnerable women. Lina Zdruli founded Dafero because she is passionate about using entrepreneurship, business, and technology as tools for social good.

Nubian Hueman is a social impact company that specializes in sourcing unique goods and fashion by artists representing the global Diaspora. Nubian Hueman is a catalyst for culture, community, and the development of the creative economy by connecting conscious consumers to independent artists fueled by pride and purpose. Anika Hobbs founded Nubian Hueman because her passions fueled her charge to become an economic change agent through brand exposure, product development, and curated retail experiences.

Homme DC is a boutique for emerging artists of all disciplines. Homme provides a platform for artists to exhibit and sell their art in an intimate gallery experience. Founder, curator, and creative director Amir Browder started Homme D.C. to provide a platform for emerging artists of all disciplines with a focus of quality over quantity in the D.C. arts and creative scene.

Please Assist Me is an all inclusive app that allows busy individuals to come home to find everything done. They pride themselves on providing solutions for busy individuals to focus on work or family. Please Assist Me partners with apartment complexes to fully integrate into the places people live. Co-Founders Stephanie and Rashad Cummings aim to realize the possibility of true work-life balance for Please Assist Me's users.

Mully Lingua is the first marketplace of language and cultural activities and resources for kids. Mully Lingua helps parents build community and connect to the cultural and language resources and activities their children need to embrace who they are, appreciate the world around them, and thrive in a multicultural environment. Founder Tami Garcia launched Mully Lingua so her daughter, who is from Ethiopia, can be proud of and knowledgeable about the culture she was born in.

Incarcicare is an electronic streamlined service that makes it easy for people to select, pay for, and mail care packages to an incarcerated loved one. Founder Yasmine Arrington was inspired to start IncarciCare after experiencing barriers to maintaining contact with an incarcerated family member.

WUSA9 partners with Halcyon to sponsor the By the People Festival.

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