Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth Announces $950K Grant to RICE During Spring 2023 Stakeholder Information Session 

A $950,000 investment from the Mastercard Impact Fund over a three-year period will support RICE’s Big IDEAS curriculum, with Mastercard providing RICE stakeholder companies with pro bono education, technical and financial assistance. The announcement was made during RICE’s Spring 2023 stakeholder information session by Marc Jackson, Vice-President, In Solidarity. The announcement was met with thunderous applause by hopeful stakeholders, current stakeholders, and RICE Staff. The grant is made in furtherance of Mastercard’s In Solidarity initiative, a $500 million pledge to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap for Black communities and businesses across America. 

“The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs is taking a truly innovative and targeted approach to supporting Black business owners in Atlanta, and we are thrilled to have this opportunity to help advance their mission,” said Salah Goss, Senior Vice President of Social Impact for North America at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “This collaboration epitomizes the kind of model we believe can make a difference for people, their communities, and our society, and we look forward to making an impact in Atlanta together.”


<Marc Jackson, VP in Solidarity, Mastercard delivers speech and announcement of $950K partnership at RICE 2023 Spring Stakeholder Session on Feb 21, 2023 to a round of thunderous applause.> 


Forging pathways to equitable opportunities that help create and accelerate Black-owned businesses is at the forefront of RICE’s mission to amplify, advocate and activate Black economic empowerment through entrepreneurship. “We are proud to partner with Mastercard In Solidarity to develop Black entrepreneurs’ business acumen,” President, and CEO of RICE. “It is our mission to create meaningful partnerships with companies like Mastercard and Live Oak Bank to create a collaborative community of support for the companies we serve and help overcome the unique barriers they face.”

The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs is the place to be for access, opportunity, and exposure for Black business owners at any stage. Investments from our partners like Mastercard, LiveOak, Disney, and UPS allow us to provide cutting edge resources, services, and information to our stakeholders. Learn more about what RICE has to offer by visiting


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