Russell Center Collaborates with Disney on Supply Chain Accelerator

Since 2019, the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) has been supporting Atlanta’s Black small business community with connections, programming, and resources that help facilitate their business growth at scale. Through an innovative partnership with the Disney Corporation, 35 RICE-supported businesses, and 60+ stakeholders and their business affiliates got an insider’s look at the inner-workings of the supply-chain and how best to prepare as a potential vendor for corporate partners.

As part of Disney’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the corporation has made a goal of spending $1 billion annually with diverse suppliers by 2024. This inaugural accelerator program will help RICE stakeholders become competitive with their offer and bids, hopefully resulting in contracts being executed and opportunity expanded. Collaborations like these from socially aware and responsible corporations, like Disney, help close the opportunity gap experienced by many women and minority-owned small businesses.


The collaboration with RICE is part of Disney’s Future Storytellers, an initiative that empowers the next generation of creators and innovators. RICE stakeholders had a chance to experience the Disney magic up-close and in-through a series of panels, networking opportunities, and exclusive behind-the-scenes tours.


During the two-day experience, two of RICE Stakeholders M-T Strickland, CEO of Metric Mate and Dr. Bianca Kiovanni, CEO of Simplicity Beverage Company had an opportunity to talk about their business in front of some of Disney’s Supply Chain team and fellow RICE stakeholders. RICE’s youngest CEO, 10-year old Zoe Oli also wowed participants with her company, Beautiful Curly Me.


“The RICE Supply Chain Accelerator program delivers the necessary expertise and insight for entrepreneurs to take the next step and we are grateful for Disney’s sponsorship,” says Jay Bailey, President and CEO of the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs. “This partnership is exceptionally meaningful during a time when equitable opportunities have never been more important.”

We are excited to announce that Disney and RICE have agreed to extend the partnership with even more RICE stakeholders, expanded programming, and a greater fast-track to entrepreneurial success and more “happily ever after”s.


Terri-Nichelle Bradley

Terri-Nichelle Bradley is the Founder and CEO of Play at Brown Toy Box. Bradley believes that Black children should see themselves positively represented in every space the experience regularly, starting with their toybox and the toy aisle. Bradley, an equity in play advocate, is on a mission to disrupt the $27B toy industry by creating a brand that reflects the world we live in today. Launched in 2017 as a STEAM kit, Brown Toy Box evolved into a full-scale educational toy company producing and curating STEAM toys, media, and experiences for centering and celebrating Black children in a manner all children can enjoy, learn, and have fun. Prior to starting Brown Toy Box, Bradley led a communications consultancy working with Fortune 500 companies in campaigns designed to connect with the African American community. Prior to that, Bradley served as the VP of Corporate, Crisis, and Public Affairs for the world’s largest global PR agency. Bradley has been awarded the Civic Impact Award, was recognized as a 2019 Atlanta’s Top 100 Businesswomen of Influence by the Atlanta Business League, acknowledged on the 2020 Who’s Who in Black Atlanta list of influential leaders and most recently named to Inc. Magazine’s 2020 Female Founders 100 list. Brown Toy Box is sold in Target stores nationwide, with Amazon, over 30 museums including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, as well as other independent specialty toy stores and retailers. Learn more at

Stefan Miller

Stefan Miller is the Co-Founder and CMO for Young King Hair Care, which launched in December 2019. Young King Hair Care is a multicultural grooming and lifestyle brand company with tailored offerings catering to specific needs of young men of color. Stefan is a marketing professional with 15+ years of experience across marketing, sales and consulting in the CPG and tech industries. At Young King, Stefan has been featured in over 75+ national publications, was recognized by Mintel as one of the top US brand innovations of 2021, partnered with Disney and Marvel Studios for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and was a participant on Season 13 of ABC’s Shark Tank. Currently Young King Hair Care is available in multiple retail partners, including Target, Walmart, and CVS, selling in over 3,000 stores across the US. Prior to founding Young King Hair Care, he led business strategy and marketing communications, while launching innovations across multiple billion-dollar brands and categories at IBM, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull. Stefan L. Miller Bio Stefan holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with concentrations in Brand Marketing, Media Management and Management in Organizations, and is a proud HBCU alum of Morehouse College with a BA in Business Administration. He currently lives with his wife and co-founder Cora and 2 kids, Kade and Cree in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more at

Ceata E. Lash

Ceata E. Lash, CEO and founder of PuffCuff has emerged as a pioneering figure in the natural hair accessory industry, holding the distinction of being the first African-American woman to secure four US patents in this domain. Her journey to entrepreneurship was built upon a 30-year career as a graphic designer, which laid the foundation for launching PuffCuff in 2013. Ceata’s innovative leadership has earned her prestigious accolades, including the President’s Innovation Award from Sally Beauty and the New Voices + Barefoot Wine Beauty Business Grant. These achievements have placed her among the top female founders featured in Inc. Magazine. Committed to lifelong learning and growth, Ceata has completed the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses National Cohort and was part of the inaugural Amazon Black Business Accelerator Cohort. Her recent completion of the “Building a Successful Diverse Business” program at Tuck Executive Education, Dartmouth, further underscores her dedication to continuous improvement and leadership in the business world. Learn more at