These Ten Entrepreneurs Are Solving the DMV Region’s Most Pressing Challenges

These Ten Entrepreneurs Are Solving the DMV Region’s Most Pressing Challenges

June 16, 2023
Contact: Coby Jones, Director of Communications


Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, ten entrepreneurs took the stage at Halcyon’s showcase event to share their vision for changing the world. All ten entrepreneurs participated in Halcyon’s Opportunity Intensive Spring 2023 Cohort sponsored by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Capital One, S&R Evermay, Goodwin, and The HR Sage. The Opportunity Intensive is an incubator program that serves impact-driven business founders in the DMV whose ventures are based in or primarily serve government-designated Opportunity Zones. 


“The world is changing, and we need to be prepared for it,” said Mercy Erhiawarien, Intensives Program Manager, Halcyon. “The entrepreneurs from the Spring 2023 Opportunity Intensive Cohort are helping to build a foundation for a sustainable and equitable future, especially for those living in underserved regions in the DMV. All of Halcyon’s programing is centered on social impact, in helping your community, but the Opportunity Intensive is special because it is our local community in the DMV that is benefiting from these founders and their ambition to make the world a better place.” 


“The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is proud to support Halcyon as they leverage their EDA grant to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs in distressed communities,” said Craig Buerstatte, EDA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs. “The Opportunity Intensive Program, funded as part of a 2020 EDA Build to Scale grant, enables founders to create jobs and bolster regional economic growth. By building sustainable businesses, these entrepreneurs will help accelerate growth throughout the DMV region – while increasing the equity, accessibility, and diversity of the innovation economy.” 


Halcyon shows up in that critical moment where viability is proven and scalability is achievable, but where barriers could limit a business’s ability to last – even if that business has the potential to solve a massive global problem. To date, 75% of Halcyon founders identify as women or non-binary and 78% identify as a founder of color. In an environment where only 1.9% of women-led start-ups and only 1% of Black-led start-ups receive funding for their ventures, Halcyon is paving the way for the next generation of impact-driven businesses with diverse and proven founders at the helm.  


About the Fellows 


Bianca J. Jackson, BrickRose Exchange 

Bianca J. Jackson is the Creative Experience Officer at BrickRose Exchange. Brick Rose Exchange is a Lab and tech hub that brings multi-sensory events and experiences to life by amplifying the work of artists and creatives with the use of the Metaverse and web3 technologies.  


Robert Azeem Jackson III, Cypher LLC 

Rob is an Afro-futurist and founder of Cypher LLC, whose mission is to build data and knowledge management systems with the intention bridge the digital divide faced by women-led and black owned businesses and communities.  


Digvijay Singh and Bonolo Mathekga, Drizzle Health 

Digvijay and Bonolo are the founders of Drizzle Health. Their first product, Medupi, helps primary health centers and community health workers diagnose Tuberculosis (TB) without dependencies on highly skilled technicians, a robust supply chain, storage, or large budgets for purchasing state-of-the-art technology consumables. 

Thomas L. Hunter Jr, Edenic Energy 

Thomas is the founder of Edenic Energy. Edenic Energy offers Energy Project Management software that helps building owners, construction teams, urban planners, and governments identify, design, and maintain energy-efficient improvements in the environment.  

Marissa Nelson, Fertility Haven 

Marissa Nelson is the CEO of Fertility Haven. Fertility Haven is a fertility companion application for women and couples that provides timely and personalized mental health interventions through medically assisted reproductive processes such as IVF.  

Nicole Whalen, Green Compass 

Nicole Whalen is the founding CEO of Green Compass, a greentech company that designs, builds, and operates green infrastructure solutions for commercial and multifamily buildings. These buildings are the largest source of emissions worldwide and can be the largest solution to the climate crisis.   

Mackenzie Loy, Homemade in DC 

Mackenzie Loy is the founder of Homemade in DC. Homemade in DC is an online marketplace connecting local food entrepreneurs to businesses. They offer corporate catering and custom gift boxes, all sourced locally from women, People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs. 

Mireille Raad, Sustainably 

Mireille Raad is the founder of Sustainably. Sustainably is a social impact startup out of Washington, DC. Our mission is to make plastic film recycling easy, cheap, and convenient for businesses and residents in the DMV.  

Tara Marshall-Hill, Sindano Health 

Tara Marshall-Hill is the Founder and CEO of Sindano Health, a social impact data analytics and technology company developing human-centered machine learning solutions to address mental health inequities for the LGBTQ+ communities, through racial equity lens.  

Jordan Taylor, SynergyGrid 

Jordan Taylor is the founder of SynergyGrid, a sustainable real estate development company transforming underserved areas and communities of color by building Net-Zero Energy efficient communities.  


About Halcyon 

Halcyon accelerates the impact-driven future of business. We believe there’s a competitive advantage to having a social mission in your DNA, and that impact-driven businesses represent a powerful opportunity to drive equity and inclusivity in the workplace and society. 

Halcyon is the community supporting impact-driven businesses and their founders through space, community, and access. Our programs offer fellowships for social entrepreneurs and funding vehicles to help them scale their ventures.