A few of the RICE Stakeholders that won Walmart "Fast Passes" for Open Call

Walmart Hosts “On the Road to Open Call” Fast Pass Event at RICE

May 21st was a BIG day at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE)! Twenty of our RICE Stakeholders pitched their businesses to Walmart executives for a shot at a “fast-pass” to the Walmart Open for Small Business program in Bentonville this October! These talented entrepreneurs received real-time feedback and coaching from industry experts. It’s moments like these that highlight the dynamism and creativity thriving within our RICE community. Congratulation to the 12 “fast-pass” winners:


Kayla’s Italian Ice | IG: @kaylasitalianice | https://kaylasitalianice.com/

Scotch Boyz | IG: @scotchboyz | https://www.scotchboyz.com/

Yacht Club Access | IG: @shopyachtclubaccess | https://www.yachtclubaccess.com/

My Roots are Rich | IG: @myrootsarerich | https://myrootsarerich.org/

Kindred Paper | IG: @kindredpapr | https://ourkindredpaper.com/

Emmerse | IG: @getemmersed | https://www.getemmersed.com/

HoneySuckle Moon | IG: @honeysucklemoon | https://iamhoneysucklemoon.com/

S-Secrets | IG: @ssecrets2018 | https://s-secrets.com/

Khroma Kolors | IG: @khromakolors | https://khromakolors.com/

Essence Tree | IG: @essencetreelife | https://essencetree.com/

Girl Supps | IG: @girlsupps | https://girlsupps.com/

Red Drop | IG: @reddrop | https://tryreddrop.com/


We’re so proud of these entrepreneurs for stepping up and demonstrating their potential on such a prestigious platform. It’s truly inspiring to see such a diverse range of innovative products and services being recognized. From delicious treats like Kayla’s Italian Ice to unique lifestyle brands like Yacht Club Access, and wellness-focused companies like HoneySuckle Moon and Girl Supps, there’s so much creativity and entrepreneurial spirit on display. Check out the video recap of this special occasion: RICE x Walmart Open Call on the Road Fast Pass Event (youtube.com) or view photos from the gallery here: RICE X WALMART OPEN CALL 5.21.2024 :: Adrian Shelby Photography (sproutstudio.com)


We want to thank our friends at Walmart for their continuous support and belief in our mission! Open call applications are now open until July 15, 2024. Don’t wait to apply if you are interested in landing your products on the shelves of Walmart. Make your application here: Open Call 2024 (walmart.com)


Congratulations to all of the RICE Stakeholders that are on the road to Bentonville! Subscribe and stay tuned to the Russell Center YouTube channel for more details and upcoming videos highlighting the incredible journey of these inspiring Black entrepreneurs.



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 browntoybox.com

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 youngkinghaircare.com

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 thepuffcuff.com