Exclusive: Atlanta Hosts Halcyon Future Builders Showcase For The First Time, Empowering Black Female Entrepreneurs

Exclusive: Atlanta Hosts Halcyon Future Builders Showcase For The First Time, Empowering Black Female Entrepreneurs

By Hunter Gilmore /

The Halcyon Future Builders Showcase was held at The Gathering Spot in Atlanta on June 6. The event, which took place in Washington, D.C. in years past, highlights five exceptional ventures in Halcyon’s cohort led by Black women entrepreneurs.

These impact-driven ventures are revolutionizing industries ranging from sustainable fashion to intersectional health solutions, embodying the true spirit of innovation and resilience.

Halcyon’s ethos is grounded in the belief that diversity and inclusion are critical drivers of innovation and economic growth. By investing in female founders, Halcyon not only empowers individual entrepreneurs but also contributes to building a more inclusive and prosperous future.

To date, 68% of Halcyon founders identify as women or non-binary, and 93% identify as people of color. This diverse community is creating a sustainable foundation for capitalism in the 21st century, bridging the gap between proven viability and scalable success.

In an exclusive interview with ADW, Mercy Erhiawarien, Senior Program Manager at Halcyon, emphasized the importance of supporting these entrepreneurs: “My role is being able to support and come around the founders. It is incredibly important to me to see them thrive. I get the most joy from just seeing them pitching, connecting with their audience and being successful.”

Erhiawarien added: “The other thing is also being able to create partners that are interested in social missions and that are interested in driving impact together.”

This year marks the first time the showcase is being hosted in Atlanta, a city renowned for its vibrant ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs. Erhiawarien explained the decision: “This cohort is focused on female, Black female founders. We wanted to expose them to a different market, beyond the one in DC. The way the program works is that they’ve already been to DC in January and connected with people in that ecosystem. We wanted to broaden their opportunities simply by bringing them here to Atlanta.”

The fellowship’s impact is vividly illustrated through the experiences of its participants. Dr. Leah Lewis, the Founder and CEO of Cocoon Technologies Inc., shared how Halcyon has been instrumental in shaping her venture’s growth. Cocoon Technologies is a software company that prioritizes the safety of all community members.

“We have been able to establish a relationship with Capital One, their pro bono program, we have been accepted into that. We have been able to forge a relationship with Amazon Web Services as a result of getting in Halcyon,” Dr. Lewis continues, “Our go to market strategy was shaped by a Halcyon advisor, who I believe has now opened the door for us to really go to market the proper way.”

Currently, Cocoon Technologies is developing a contactless policing solution for low-level traffic stops called LARA (License and Registration Ap). “I think technology is something we are going to have to implement to reduce proximity,” Dr. Lewis said. “Technology can create the barriers like we’re doing with LARA, so that everybody is cocooned in their vehicle and that proximity is eliminated. But the municipality’s business can still be conducted using technology.”

Kristeen Reynolds, another fellow, is a servant leader committed to fighting environmental injustice. She co-founded DrinKicks, a sneaker themed consumer packaged goods company focused on repurposing food waste and recycled materials into sustainable goods such as shoes, sports equipment, and clothing.

This innovative venture aims to educate about the power of the circular economy through culturally significant endeavors.

After experiencing the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in her hometown of Port Arthur, Texas, Reynolds dedicated herself to making a tangible impact. “Experiencing numerous hurricanes inspired me to start my company,” Reynold said. “My mom was still out of her house seven years after the event happened. This showcase is just a great opportunity for me to be able to spread the mission and get the word out.”

Reynolds also stressed the importance of community and sisterhood fostered by the fellowship: “I’ve been able to connect with other Black women in this cohort, and this isn’t the end for us. We’ll continue to grow. We’ll continue to share resources. We’ll continue to build up our businesses that build up each other, too. I think sisterhood is so important, and I appreciate Halcyon for giving us this opportunity.”

The Halcyon Future Builders Showcase underscores the critical role of Black female entrepreneurs in driving innovation and social impact.

By providing resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities, Halcyon ensures these ventures have the support they need to overcome barriers and achieve lasting success.

For more information about Halcyon, the Future Builders Showcase and its full cohort of entrepreneurs, visit their website here.