Kezia M. Williams is the founder of The Black upStart - a national initiative to train African-American entrepreneurs. She has over ten years of experience training millennials to crowdfund grants benefiting small businesses. She has managed initiatives for two national nonprofit organizations that serve African-American donors and entrepreneurs.
Currently, she leads United Negro College Fund's (UNCF) national entrepreneurship initiative. This program - funded by a $25 million grant - teaches African-American undergraduate and graduate scholarship recipients how to start successful and profitable businesses. Williams designed the program and led the effort to launch it by recruiting and awarding the inaugural cohort, developing a curriculum that taught scholars how to overcome entrepreneurial obstacles specific to African Americans, and led the effort to create an online learning community connecting scholars to mentors. She also co-organized UNCF's inaugural Young, Black and Innovative event which connected 600 Black consumers with 10 African-American startup organizations.
Prior to UNCF, she led Capital Cause, a nonprofit organization that involved a network of 5,000 mostly African-American young philanthropists in funding grants to start-up nonprofit organizations.
As part of the Black upStart team, she uses her network to find the most qualified thought leaders, industry experts, entrepreneurs and academics to ensure quality programming for all involved.