Enterprising Women of Color DMV Business Center Launches Ascend.Her: Phoenix Cohort

Phoenix Cohort will build resilience and drive growth, includes 14 entrepreneurs representing 10 industries across the District, Maryland, and Virginia

Washington, D.C. (September 27, 2021) – The Enterprising Women of Color DMV Business Center (Center) today announced the participants for the Ascend.Her: Phoenix Cohort, the latest cohort of Wacif’s award-winning Ascend Capital Accelerator. The Phoenix Cohort includes 14 dynamic women entrepreneurs of color who will build the resilience and growth of their businesses by participating in the eight-week, intensive, cohort-based program.

“Women entrepreneurs of color lead the way nationally and regionally in small business and job creation, so building a resilient economy requires supporting the resilience of these entrepreneurs,” said Wacif CEO Harold B. Pettigrew Jr. “Wacif is excited to launch the Ascend.Her: Phoenix Cohort to support their success, build their business’s capacity, and invest in their future.”

With a focus on helping women entrepreneurs of color rise from an incredibly challenging pandemic business environment, the Ascend.Her: Phoenix Cohort will strengthen entrepreneurs’ financial capability, deepen their marketing and relationship-building skills, and position them to secure affordable growth capital. The Ascend.Her: Phoenix Cohort draws on the curriculum offered through its parent accelerator, Wacif’s award-winning Ascend Capital Accelerator. The Ascend.Her: Phoenix Cohort is made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency.

“The data tell us that supporting the resilience of women entrepreneurs of color will help catalyze an equitable economic recovery,” said Enterprising Women of Color DMV Business Center Program Director Messay Derebe. “I am honored to collaborate with these 14 inspiring entrepreneurs to sustain their resilience and growth.”

Below are the entrepreneurs in the Phoenix Cohort of Ascend.Her Capital Accelerator:


Shirley Boubert-Rumble

Amber Chaney

Dr. Bridgette Chase

Vicki Davis

Erica Fells

Teresa Gilchrist

Alana Hill

Jennifer Hoang

Monica Lamont

Victoria Lebeaux

Portia Moore

Lavanya Poteau

Kuku Smith

Shauna Stallworth

Ascend.Her Capital Accelerator is one component of the Center’s mission to empower and invest in women entrepreneurs of color by dismantling systemic inequity through economic opportunity. By providing access to affordable capital and funding opportunities, a full suite of business services, advisory, and programming services, networking opportunities, and cohort-based learning, the Center commits to advancing economic justice for historically underserved communities. 


About the Enterprising Women of Color DMV Business Center 

The Enterprising Women of Color DMV Business Center (Center) fosters and supports a small business ecosystem for women of color in the National Capital Region. The Center’s robust business services—including financial capital, business advisory services, and networking support—are dedicated to supporting the growth and resiliency of women of color entrepreneurs. This Center is powered by the Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif), which has served women entrepreneurs of color since 1987, and is made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). To learn more about the Center, visit https://ewoc.wacif.org.

About the Washington Area Community Investment Fund

Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) is one of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area’s leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) focused on small business development. Wacif’s mission is to increase equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities in the Washington, D.C. area by investing knowledge, social, and financial capital in low-and-moderate-income entrepreneurs. To learn more about Wacif’s mission, visit www.wacif.org.