Kizzy Kittrell Dogan is the chief executive officer of T&G Commercial Cleaning. (Courtesy photo)
Kizzy Kittrell Dogan is the chief executive officer of T&G Commercial Cleaning. (Courtesy photo)

D.C.-area female entrepreneurs of color recently participated in training on operating their enterprises from Chase Bank working in concert with Luminary, a global platform designed to help women move forward with professional growth and collaboration.

The conference occurred on June 16 at the Bowen Building in downtown Washington, D.C. 

Kizzy Kittrell Dogan, a District native who serves as chief executive officer of T&G Commercial Cleaning, stressed the importance of attending the conference.

“I am a member of Luminary and heard about their national tour with Chase and I wanted to get involved,” Dogan said. “I enjoy being a participant in Luminary because it really gets into the resources you need in order to become a successful business owner.”

In a Feb. 12 article published by Black, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported Black businesses are growing and thriving largely due to the effort of African-American women. The article quotes Karen Bennetts, a board member of the National Association of Women Business Owners, who told a reporter with The Hill that Black women tend to be the last called back for re-employment after the pandemic started and many became frustrated and decided to start their own businesses.

The Luminary Experience   

The conference exists as a part of the JPMorgan Chase Women on the Move program designed to aid minority business owners. The bank has made a $30 billion commitment over five years to educate business owners in underserved communities on operating procedures.

The 50 entrepreneurs participated in seminars such as “Building Your Empire,” “Business Plan Bootcamp,” “Know Your Numbers & The Power of Capital,” “Money Mindset: Removing Blockers,” “Digital Marketing 101” and “Personal Finance and Your Business.” 

Cate Luzio, the founder and CEO of Luminary, taught the seminar on the business plan bootcamp while Darla Harris, vice president and senior business consultant at JPMorgan Chase & Co and Kristina Sicard, vice president and banking consultant, focused on minority entrepreneurs at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and co-instructed the “Know Your Numbers” course.

Throughout the day, the entrepreneurs received motivational speeches on how to preserve during tough times and networking for success. 

Falashade Ologunja, the co-founder of Potion-Ivy Health & Beauty, said the courses increased her knowledge of the business landscape.

“I learned how to cope during tough times,” she said. “The class on accessing capital opened my eyes to new ways of approaching funding problems and look to sources for resources.”

With the conference now over, the entrepreneurs have access to one-to-one mentoring with Harris and Sicard. Additionally, other Chase staffers will offer free mentorship, financial health or small business coaching and technical assistance to the business owners.

Dogan agreed that the conference has educated her on how to secure more capital.

“We have been in a virtual world the last two years and it has hampered me in terms of getting the funding I desire,” she said. “Now that we have opened back up, I have gotten ideas on building relationships with bankers and others to get the money I need to run my business.”

James Wright photo

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...