Kezia M. Williams

Chief Executive Officer - The Black upStart

Kezia (@keziamw) is the Chief Executive Officer of The Black upStart – a nationally recognized company serving African-American innovators interested in starting successful and profitable, job creating small businesses. Through the administration of an incubator program, the Black upStart administers a culturally-sensitive, pioneering curriculum that integrates experiential learning methods, lean startup methodology, and business case studies. To date, the organization has trained nearly 500 entrepreneurs in the District of Columbia, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Southern Africa. Black upStart graduates have launched ventures in 12 different states and have been featured on Netflix, ABC’s Shark Tank, the Washington Post, Essence Magazine, and Black Enterprise Magazine for their innovative businesses.

Recently, Kezia launched SkillHouseU: Classrooms for the Culture, an online school that provides necessary skills and training for entrepreneurship and wealth creation. Since the launch of SkillHouseU in March 2020, nearly 5,000 people have enrolled in over 22 classes facilitated by 12 recognized financial experts. Her Live-Classrooms sessions regularly reach 100,000+ viewers. With nearly 500,000+ followers on her personal and business Instagram pages, her team’s ability to disrupt traditional notions of education and entrepreneurship for Black wealth creators is purpose work.

Ms. Williams also leads MyBlackReceipt, which is a tech company that launched to track spending at Black owned businesses. In 17 days, she led a team that collected over $7.7 million in receipts from conscious consumers that supported the #MyBlackReceipt “Buy Black” initiative. This is the nation’s first quantifiable initiative designed to measure the impact of consumer activists.

Kezia has been featured by CNN, Forbes, USA Today, Black Enterprise and Yelp and is regularly a speaker at national conferences and symposiums across the nation. She has also been interviewed on Good Morning America, CNBC, Black News Network and Cheddar. She is currently a Global Ambassador for Robinhood, the highly popular stock trading and investment platform. She also sits on the Advisory Board for PepsiCo's Racial Equality Black Initiative, where she provides counsel to their executive team as they execute their plan to spend $400 million to support Black communities over five years.

Kezia is the proud daughter of Gail Elaine Davis and a native of Richmond, Virginia.