Chevrolet’s “Step Up” initiative has supported Black-owned businesses in recognition of Black Business Month. The American automobile division of the manufacturer General Motors has created a positive impact on communities by awarding five exceptional entrepreneurs a $20,000 donation each. Through Discover the Unexpected (DTU) internship program, it’s also empowering ten Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) students.
Five entrepreneurs awarded by Chevy’s ‘Step Up’ are:
Among the awarded ones is Jahmal Cole, Founder & CEO of My Block My Hood My City in Chicago, who has championed social justice through an exposure-based education program for teens and volunteer initiatives. Cole’s mission is to build a more interconnected Chicago on the pillars of service and education.
A Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer, Handspring Health in Newark, Kwasi Kyei is revolutionizing youth behavioral health through a fully vertically-integrated care model. Handspring is offering higher quality mental healthcare to youth, empowering them to lead resilient and fulfilling lives through a combination of clinical expertise, a virtual health platform, modern clinics, and health plan partnerships.
Pashon Murray is leading the charge in environmental justice with a composting company diverting materials from landfills and offering food waste solutions. The Co-founder of Detroit Dirt in Detroit, who is an environmental entrepreneur, activist and educator, has been working towards sustainable solutions and environmental justice for 18 years. In 2017 the Detroit Dirt Foundation (DDF) was founded and Culture of Carbon (C2) consultancy was established the following year. Both, DDF and C2, focus on curriculum development, education, energy, research and reducing carbon emissions.
A multi-talented computer scientist, business strategist, successful author and serial entrepreneur, Omi Bell is providing resources and support to underrepresented entrepreneurs, funding over 300 women-owned businesses. The founder and CEO of Black Girl Ventures in Alexandria, with an impressive a background in performance, K‑12 Education, and IP Strategy, Omi has made it her mission to provide resources and support to underrepresented entrepreneurs. Under Omi’s leadership, Black Girl Ventures has funded over 300 women founders representing about $10M in revenue, creating over 3,000 jobs for the US economy and raising $5M in financial and social capital.
Bettina Thomas is dedicated to the satisfaction of her customers’ appetite and giving them the dining experience that will keep them coming back for more. The Owner of Vege-licious in Nashville, with over 20 years of Vegan, Vegetarian and Raw Food Prep expertise, serves healthy and flavorful meals to her community.
What for black college and university students?
Chevrolet’s Discover the Unexpected (DTU) internship program is empowering ten Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) students from around the country. This 10-week immersive internship includes collaboration with National Newspaper Publication Association (NNPA) journalists and Chevrolet marketing teams. DTU alumni have gone on to start their careers at General Motors, showcasing the program’s effectiveness.
Upon completion of the program, Chevrolet and NNPA will award each fellow $18,000 in scholarships and stipends, totaling over $750,000 as that of June.
Chevrolet’s “Step Up” initiative and the DTU internship program are admirable as well as indicative of the brand’s dedication to diversity, community impact, and empowering the next generation of leaders. These efforts can benefit the individuals involved and contribute to a more inclusive and prosperous society, aligning with the values of social responsibility and financial empowerment.