These are Some of the Philly Founders You Need To Be Looking Out For in 2023

In October The Plug attended the Black and Brown Founders Chroma Conference in Philadelphia. The theme of the 2022 event: money. Founders, aspiring entrepreneurs and other players that are a part of Philly’s innovation economy gathered at the Science Center to discuss ways the Black community can build sustainable, generational wealth.

The keynote speaker, Pamela Jolly, a wealth strategist, founder and fourth-generation Philadelphian, shared a piece of insight that has stuck with us:

“An earner creates wealth for others while sustaining themselves while an owner is a wealth builder for themself while creating wealth for others.”

These are just a handful of the many Black founders in Philadelphia who are building businesses to support their community and as Jolly put it, building a legacy:

Abu Kamara, co-founder of Grovara, a B2B marketplace that connects natural and organic brands with international retailers, has increased its number of international buyers sixfold.

Calan Malyn, the founder of entertainment company 69&Sunny, is working to amplify contemporary artists, writers and thinkers.

Cody Eddings and Anis Taylor, co-founders of SnapRefund, a digital payment platform for businesses, are addressing financial literacy in Black and brown communities.

Damian Jorden, the founder of hiring platform Phynally, is connecting professionals with employers that do not have cannabis pre-employment screening.

David Cabello and Aaron Cabello, twin brothers and co-founders of Black and Mobile, exclusively promote Black-owned restaurants through their delivery service. 

Garry Johnson III, the founder of Bison Venture Partners (BVP), is helping small businesses and startups become investment ready by teaching people how to crowdfund. Johnson has helped underrepresented founders source $500,000 in non-dilutive funds outside of BVP.

Ian Kimble, a software engineer and co-founder of Black Tech Philly, a predominantly virtual space for Black tech professionals, led an initiative at Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia teaching introductory web development to high school juniors and seniors. 

Dr. Keith Leaphart, the founder of Philanthropi, a platform that partners with financial institutions, employers, universities and non-profit organizations, empowers everyday donors to support non-profit organizations.

Muhammad Abdul-Hadi, the founder of Down North Pizza, solely employs formerly incarcerated individuals to his restaurant in North Philly. Abdul-Hadi is building a youth tech center in his community.

Neferteri Strickland, the founder of TEACHERS&, facilitates a network of education entrepreneurs.

Dr. Olan Soremekun and Dr. Mary E. Fleming, co-founders of Cayaba Care, are providing online and in-person services to support Black birthing people.

Shannon Morales, the founder of DEI tech hiring platform Tribaja, has connected thousands of professionals with culturally competent employers.

Sylvester Mobley, the founder of 1Philadelphia and Coded by Kids, is working to make Philadelphia an equitable tech and innovation ecosystem.

Tanya T Morris, the founder of Mom Your Business, is connecting female founders to resources and opportunities.

Tiffanie Stanard, the founder of SaaS supply chain startup Stimulus, is making it easier for big purchasers to buy from diverse businesses.

William Toms, the co-founder of creative incubator and agency REC Philly, is opening another hub in Miami early next year.

YaYa Horne and Damion Ward, co-founders of Tiny Room for Elephants, support a network of creatives while inviting the public to watch the art process.

Note: If The Plug has yet to connect with you or someone you know please email to help shape our coverage in 2023. 

Alesia Bani

Alesia Bani is a writer and journalist from Philadelphia and The Plug’s Innovation Reporter covering the Black tech ecosystem in Philadelphia. She previously worked for the Institutional Diversity office at her alma mater Temple University and has a background in reporting on identity, DEI and local government.