“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”
—Toni Morrison

Congratulations to our top three finalists!

Voting in the Black History Month Ignition Challenge closed at 5:00 p.m. EST on February 17. The top three vote-getters will now pitch their businesses on February 25. The winner of the pitch competition will receive $15,000, second place will receive $10,000, and third place will receive $5,000. All three of the finalists will receive business coaching.

Keep reading to learn more about each finalist!

Eye Smile Optometry & Dental Care
Founder: Dr. Keith James, OD (Air Force veteran)

Eye Smile Optometry & Dental Care, founded and managed by Dr. Keith James, OD and Dr. Yvonelle Moreau, DDS, is a family-owned, primary care optometric and dental practice that was launched in March 2020. It was developed to provide Arlington, Alexandria, and the surrounding region with comprehensive, patient-centered vision and dental services in one convenient location. By combining our practices and services, they not only emphasize vision care and oral care, but they also promote overall health and wellness. As a black, family-owned business, Eye Smile is committed to serving its neighboring community, educating those that are under-represented and underserved, and leading as examples to future under-represented entrepreneurs.

Keep Your Hair Headgear, LLC
Founder: Natasha Hinds (Army veteran)

Keep Your Hair Headgear, LLC offers quality satin- and silk-lined products to protect your precious hair from breaking off while wearing moisture-absorbing wool, cotton, and nylon headwear. The company’s innovation of completely lining military headwear with silk material created an option for members to purchase headgear more conducive to their hair type or skin condition and still remain within military wear and appearance standards. Their satin-lined baseball caps are manufactured to fit larger heads, thicker hair, braids, or locks. Keep Your Hair Headgear, LLC’s goal is to donate at least 10% of its profit in support of donations to military cancer patients/survivors and veteran-owned non-profits.

Sweet Christi’s
Founder: Hilda Alexander (Navy veteran)

Sweet Christi's makes plant-based bath and body products for girls that look and smell like delectable sweet treats. Most bath products geared towards young girls are filled with yucky ingredients. Sweet Christi’s products are clean, and they also promote self-care as a routine practice for overall wellness. The company’s mission is to teach girls the importance of routine self-care practices and how to implement it through workshops and literature.



January 11 - 18, 2021 – Applications Open

January 25, 2021 – Finalists Announced

February 1 – 17, 2021 - Public Voting

February 18, 2021 – Top 3 Companies Announced

February 25, 2021 – Ignition Challenge Pitch


First Place: $15,000
Second Place: $10,000
Third Place: $5,000


- Pitch Preparation
- Digital Marketing
- Media Support
- As Well As Promotion