Pharrell's Black Ambition 2023 Finalist and Award Winner

Black Ambition is a non-profit initiative working to close the opportunity and wealth gap through entrepreneurship. We invest capital and resources in high-growth startups founded by Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs. We believe entrepreneurs historically left out of traditional investment funnels are building the companies of tomorrow.


Aveeno's 2023 Skin Health Startup of the Year

Originally launched in 2021 as Aveeno’s Skin Health Startup Accelerator, The Startup Collective by Aveeno is an initiative designed to empower Black female-identifying entrepreneurs with a product, brand, or technology that meets the skin or hair care needs of Black consumers. They will be enabled to achieve business growth by providing them with access to grants, education, and resources.


Shark Tank

Watch us swim with the Sharks on and Hulu.


Techstars New Orleans

“Techstars New Orleans powered by J.P. Morgan is excited to announce its inaugural class of eleven category-leading startups. Our team spent months speaking to thousands of startups from all over the world who are building the future of commerce technology, consumer brands and platforms, creator economy technology, and climate tech. ”


So Ambitious HBCU Tour: Atlanta

”Black Ambition, Techstars, and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund are collaborating to gather undergraduate, graduate, and alumni affiliated across disciplines at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup.”


Startup Runway

”All finalists did an exceptional job, but we were especially impressed by the showcase winner, Kristen Dunning.”


The University of Georgia Next Top Entreprenuer

“UGA’s Next Top Entrepreneur is open to student startup teams from all over the country. Kristen Dunning from the University of Georgia took home 3rd place of $2,500 with her business Gently Soap, a sensitive skincare line.”


Collegiate Great Brands by Consensus

“Gently Soap wins again, this time at Collegiate Great Brands Competition. Kristen Dunning takes home $25,000, becoming first UGA student to win nationwide contest.”


The University of Georgia Venture Prize

“From making soap in her kitchen to contracting with a third-party manufacturer, Dunning will start selling her wares on Amazon and in a major department store later this year. Her persistence and record of pounding the pavement to make sales impressed judges during the pitch competition at Studio 225 on Feb. 24.”


WBENC Collegiate Accelerator

“The WBENC Collegiate Accelerator, is a premier startup program for collegiate female founders and recent graduates. Being selected for the WBENC Collegiate Accelerator is an honor and unlocks benefits and opportunities within the WBENC network and beyond.”

2022 TiE Atlanta - First Place Winner

2022 Terry College of Business Student Startup Award

2021 UGA Spring Quick Pitch - Winner 

2020 UGA Idea Accelerator - Winner

The University of Georgia Kickstart Fund - Starter and Follow On Grant Recipient

Other Entrepreneurial Accelerators

Zane Venture Fund Access Cohort 3

New Voices Fund Madam CJ Walker PACE Bootcamp


Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine 2023 Gift Guide

Welcome to our one-stop shop of handpicked gifts from mission-aligned founders who brighten our world. As you explore this joyful curation, we hope you discover a new-to-you brand to support, a female founder whose story inspires you, and gifts that will bring sunshine to everyone on your list.

Natural Eczema Relief Brand Gently Soap Scores A Deal On “Shark Tank”

Beauty Independent

The public only saw a couple of minutes of Gently Soap founder Kristen Dunning’s pitch on “Shark Tank,” but it actually took two hours of cajoling for her to land a deal on the ABC business competition show.


“Treat your skin or your loved ones’ skin to the perfect Valentine’s Day indulgence with this rose and chamomile infusion and rich cocoa butter base. The herbal-infused bar soap, Breathe, from Gently Soap uses all-natural, organic ingredients – making it the perfect match for all sensitive skin types.”

Shoutout Atlanta

"I decided to start Gently Herbal Skincare out of a love for locally grown agriculture and a lifetime struggle with sensitive skin and eczema."


"Ideal for problem and eczema-prone skin, this 4 oz soap treasure trove is infused with anti-inflammatory calendula, chamomile, and turmeric."

The Red & Black

“Kristen Dunning spoke proudly as she walked down the rows of herbs she’d grown at UGArden, a community farm supported by University of Georgia students and faculty.”


Professional Plant Girl and UGA student Kristen Dunning said she became an “entrepreneur by accident” after handing out soap at different horticulture research seminars.”