Kezia M. Williams
Young Philanthropist, Revolutionary, Teacher of Black Entrepreneurship
Kezia M. Williams is the founder of The Black UpStart (www.theblackupstart.com) – a national initiative that trains African-Americans to start successful and profitable businesses. The Black upStart uses an innovative curriculum, and hands-on learning approach that specifically teach African-Americans how to overcome the obstacles specific to business creation in their community. The business has trained Black entrepreneurs in Washington, DC on how to
launch companies that will fill unmet need in the African-American marketplace.
Ms. Williams also leads the United Negro College Fund's (UNCF) national entrepreneurship initiative. In this capacity, she manages a national program that teaches African-American undergraduate scholars how to start successful and profitable businesses. During her tenure, she has developed curricula designed to teach scholars about entrepreneurship and innovation from the
African-American perspective,and led the development and launch of an online program designed to equip
African-American scholars with the tools needed to develop and apply an entrepreneurial mindset.
Ms. Williams’ past leadership includes serving as: the youngest member on the City of Alexandria’s
Human Rights Commission (2005-2008), the first Director of Political Engagement for the Northern
Virginia Urban League (2005-2007), Deputy Lead for National Day of Service for Obama's 57th
Presidential Inaugural Committee (2013), and lead for Millennial Day of Service (2014 and 2015).
Awarded Top 40 Under 40 by Envest Foundation (2010), Kiwanis Club Excellence in Community Service
Award (2012), Black Enterprise Changemaker (2013) empower Player (2014), Social Entrepreneur of the Year by Women’s Information Network (2014), and named a top ten leader in the state of Virginia by
the Virginia Leadership Institute (2014), Ms. Williams is a recognized public servant.
Ms. Williams is a proud alum of Christopher Newport University, daughter of Gail Elaine Davis.