The leaders and participants of the By Our Hands Cohort of the Greater Washington Urban League
The leaders and participants of the By Our Hands Cohort of the Greater Washington Urban League

The Greater Washington Urban League honored eight food and service industry entrepreneurs participating in its program “By Our Hands Cohort” at its headquarters in Northwest D.C. on Aug. 14.

By Our Hands Cohort’s mission is to provide participants with training, coaching and resources to launch, sustain, and scale their food service business by incubating, educating, counseling and connecting resources and networking. Program participants also received $10,000 for their participation.

The program — By Our Hands & Black Restaurant Accelerator Program Awards Ceremony 2023 — was facilitated by Furard Tate, a food entrepreneur and the League’s senior director of business development. 

“Everything we do, we do with you in mind,” Tate said to the audience of 30.

Kimberly Corbin, the League’s chief financial and administrative officer, assisted Tate in handing out the awards to the recipients. Representatives from Pepsico and the National Urban League attended the event in their role as sponsors and supporters of the program.

The honorees were Ronnie Webb of Corner Water, Maurice Dixon of Chef Reese Catering, Chekesha Tashad of Chef Girl R Chi, Matthew Featherstone of Hiatus Cheesecake, Sherimane Johnson of Night Owl Vegan, Earmoni Tate-Collier of Urban Garden Brewing, Michelle Phipps-Evans of Vickey’s Trindad and Tobago Kitchen and Melvin Hines of the Southeast Restaurant Group. 

Hines, 51, who owns the DC City Smokehouse locations on Florida Avenue in Northwest and on Good Hope Road in Southeast, said the $10,000 award will be put to good use.

“I am planning to use the money for reinvestment in my business and look into buying a food truck,” he said. “We face challenges every day and this program helps us get the resources we need. It is difficult to get a loan from a bank.

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...

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