Diversity in the Triangle – a list of women and minority entrepreneurs

As our community continues to grow, more and more women and minority entrepreneurs are launching, leading, and growing amazing companies. Take Tatiana Birgisson of Mati Energy Tea, she went out and crushed the Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day and Anil Chawla, the founder of Archive Social, took home the $100K from Steve Case’s Rise of The Rest tour. These are just two of the many great examples of awesome people we have right here in the triangle.

With the help from folks like Derrick Minor and Ellie Gamache of American Underground (much thanks!), I started to comprise a list of females and minorities in the entrepreneur scene along with business resources / mentor-ship available to both females and minorities

Woman led companies, entrepreneurs and investors in the Triangle:

Food and Beverage:

Slingshot Coffee Company
Mati Energy Tea
Raleigh Raw
Videri Chocolate Factory
Raleigh Brewing
Simply B Gluten Free
Gadabout Food
Bombshell Brewing
AC Restaurants (Ashley Christensen)
Fiction Kitchen
The Cupcake Shoppe
ORO Restaurant
Bida Manda
Pie Bird
Cast Iron Group (The Cookery/ Dashi)
SweetPea Bakery
YAWP bars
Escazu Chocolate
Nighthouse Kitchen & Bakery
Yellow Dog Bread Co.
Empress Room
C. Grace
Sweets By Alexandria

Clothing / Retail:

Vital Plan
Edge of Urge
Scout and Molly’s
Raleigh Denim
High Cotton
Nora & Nicky’s
Moon & Lola
Martian Creations
Lyf Shoes
Impress Coffee
Lisa Stewart Designs
Kenda Kist Designs
Dear Hearts
Clique Publique
UVO Luxury
Ramble Supply Company
Arrow + Sage
Textile Scents


Hostel Rocket
Sprout Pharmaceuticals
Imangi Studios
Wiser Systems
ArtHive Online
Albright Digital
Akili Software
MedPro Rx
Remedy Health
Axial Exchange
Thrive 47
Task Torch
Clave BIOdesign
Mlinzi Vaccines
Intelligent Campus Solutions
Nine Oak Media

Marketing / Professional Services:

Brooks Bell
Greenroom Communications
One Woman Shop
TJA Accountant
The Paystub People
WunderBar Translations
MMI Public Relations
Crossroads PR & Marketing
Sepi Engineering
Carolyn Scott Photography
Mulkey Engineering
Phreckles Photography
Simply Photography
Esther Campi (Campi & Co)
HeskethOak City Labs
Abby Nardo Photography
BWPW Photography
Glenwood Agency


Innovate Raleigh
Leadership Exchange
Headbands for Hope
Redress Raleigh
Activate Good
Umstead Hotel & Spa
NC Theatre
Visual Art Exchange
SOAR Triangle
e51 Community
Raleigh Arts Collective
Nicole Wicker Consulting
Change The Triangle
Shannon Andrews Consulting
Art of Cool Project
HEAT Studios
Turn Me Loose
Live Work Play

Women doing awesome things and involved in the scene:

Mayor Nancy McFarlane
Christina Motley
Delisa Alexander
Noreen Allen
Sheryll Waddell
Heather Allen
Jan Davis
Jennifer Meeks
Carter Worthy
Liz Tracy
Allyson Sutton
Samantha Attard
Molly Demarest
Ellie Gamache
Jennifer Stanigar
Jes Averhart
Laura Baverman
Melissa Kennedy
Amy Huffman
Lizzy Hazeltine
Reagan Reynolds
Dana Calder
Jessica Mitsch
Cicely Mitchell
Kelly Sexton

Minority Led companies, entrepreneurs and investors:

Food and Beverage:

J Anthony’s BBQ Sauce
Lonerider Brewing
Eschelon Experiences
Nickelpoint Brewing
Bida Manda

Clothing / Retail:

Martian Creations
Nyla Elise


Global Data Consortium
Archive Social
BioPharma Advisors
Singh Development
Remedy Health
ELXR Health
Global Market Resources
Maintec Technologies

Marketing / Professional Services:

Sepi Engineering


Parks Hospitality


Office Hours – HQRaleigh, American Underground, The Startup Factory, Groundworks Labs, and many more local organizations widely publicize that they hold free office hours with local professionals. To my knowledge, no one has ever been turned down based on gender or race.

Structured programming – Organizations like CED, SCORE, and Entredot have structured programs to help small (and established) businesses get off the ground. Most of their programming is free, but some events and programs do have a small cost.

Soar Triangle – Backed by Google, the yearlong program offers tailor-made mentoring and investment opportunities for four female-led startups. Soartriangle.com

Black Girls Code – Based out of American Underground @Main, BGC focuses on girls aged 7-17 in hopes to help fuel the passion for a STEM focused career path. http://www.blackgirlscode.com/

E51 Coffee Connections – Peer mentoring groups, which are part of the new Entrepreneurial Ecosystem powered by women. Contact HQRaleigh.com for more info.

Derrick Minor’s email – The most comprehensive entrepreneur and startup focused event list delivered right to your inbox every few weeks. To sign up visit derrickslist.com

American Underground has launched an initiative to have its membership be comprised of at least 50% females and minorities. To back this up they’ve hosted events and organizations such as Black Girls Code, partnered with CODE2040 to launch an Entrepreneur in Residence program to support minority led firms and launched Soar Triangle to close the funding gap for female led firms.

Of course I couldn’t possibly cover everyone and every resource. If I’ve missed something, please feel free to either comment on the blog or email me will@vergestartups.com

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About Will Hardison
Will Hardison
Will is passionate about helping small businesses become big businesses. He is the Founder of FanBase, a full-service marketing firm located in the heart of Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. You can also find Will DJing, collecting sneakers, emceeing at #rtp180 and Verge NC, and occasionally banging on a set of drums.
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  • deirdre clarke

    Can we add Triangle TechGirlz to the list as well? Our org focuses on middle-school aged girls to help ignite interest in STEM careers http://www.techgirlz.org/raleigh-durham-techgirlz-group/

    • Will Hardison

      Absolutely, I’ll get it added ASAP.

  • Martijn Atell

    Hi Will, congrats with this great compilation and thanks for the shout out to VoteBash!

    • Will Hardison

      thanks for the kind words Martijn!

  • Get Social Health. Podcast and online courses for healthcare and physicians practices. http://www.getsocialhealth.com

  • Taylor Coil

    Written Word Media is a female-led startup! We’re in the American Underground as well. Our CEO is Ricci Wolman, a total badass. 🙂


  • Thanks for the shoutout, Will!! Ever grateful, Lisa

  • Rosanna Garcia

    Hi Will – I’m a bit late to the game here. Women/minority is Vijilent. Resources is NCSU’s AWE program (advancement of women entrepreneurs), a new initiative as of this year being led by me and Dr. Kate Annett-Hitchcork of the College of Textiles. Also, Judith Cone is doing great things at UNC. Thanks for putting this together it is awesome to know who is doing what.

  • Great list, Will. Would love for my company to be added – we’re Nido Durham, the only coworking space in the area with on-site childcare. Our members are about 90% women, and we focus on supporting women freelancers and small business owners. http://www.nidodurham.com. Thanks!

  • Women is stronger than men emotionally so I believe woman can handle stress better.

  • Kristin Adams

    Afterglow Cosmetics > women owned and formulated in the Triangle

  • Wendy Clore Coulter

    Hey, Will! Please add Hummingbird Creative Group to your list. Thanks, and hope you’re doing great!!! When’s the band getting together again?