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Emerging Entrepreneur


Tanya Shadley

I am writing today to express a nomination for my wife, Tanya Shadley for her excellence as an Emerging Entrepreneur. Since we were teenagers she has always had a heart for public service, Arts and humanitarianism. I feel she should receive the Emerging Entrepreneur award because of her steadfast contributions to community, culture, the youth and the arts. She has hosted numerous community events, produced though provoking stage plays to bring quality content using stage plays, as well as a community connect to providing resources and information in the Hampton Roads and I firmly believe that she qualifies for the Emerging Entrepreneur award. The Juneteenth Festival held Slover Library last year is a prime illustration of her dedication to community and the arts. She not only created this festival event planned it, but also executed a full day festival bringing together community, culture, and the arts with various stations on EVERY floor of the sixth floor Slover library in downtown Norfolk. Her work with the youth as she started TRS Kids a local production company created to provide quality training to the underserved community especially those black and brown faces they look like hers. Also, Meliq on the Move which is another organization she founded to provide information and resources to children of differently able families through community inclusive events. Her Special Skates again speaks to her resiliency and dedication to people! This event was held with huge reviews as many of the parents and children involved never thought they would see their children skate or roll on the skating room floor with their wheelchairs and walkers but my wife made it possible. I know I maybe slightly biased, but her community work speaks volumes to the impact she is making in Hampton Roads and if you her she will boldly state, “I’m building an Entertainment Empire”, because she truly believes in the talent, youth and communities in Hampton Roads. Thank you for your consideration of our Emerging Entrepreneur.

Tiquerra Roberts

Tiquerra is a wife and mother of two who started her tea business based on her oldest daughter Lyric's needs for a more holistic treatment for her Autism diagnoses. Tiquerra started her tea business form her home and grew it into a retail space within a local mall here in Chesapeake, VA. Tiquerra exudes love and genuine care for those around her. She has overcome every obstacle put in her path along this entrepreneur journey. She truly embodies the strength of a woman and mother finding their own path within the business sector. Her teas and lemonades are phenomenal and she has something for every need and everybody.

Divine Coils

I am nominating myself and my business "Divine Coil". During the Covid pandemic, I relaunch my natural hair care line. I was 2 week postpartum with my baby boy while rebuilding my business. In the last 10 month I have grown my business over 20k in revenue, I have traveled to multiple states marketing and representing my business. Divine Coils has now been featured in Patrick Henry Mall, Greenbrier Mall, Fort Eustis Military base, Cherry Hill New Jersey Mall, and Multiple locations in New York City. While building Divine Coils, I have written and self-published my first children's book "Abby The Dancer" now available on Amazon. My purpose is to show Single Black Mothers that "we can have it all too". I was born in the worst part of Brooklyn, New York and I made it out. No matter where you were born and where you are from, "Let it make you Not break You". I want my success to be an example of God's Grace and Hard Work.

Rea-D Employment

Ms Gorman has started her company in November 2021 and haven’t looked back. Even though this field is dominated by males, Diamond wasn’t afraid at all. She is very knowledgeable, professional and genuine about the service she provide. Hats off to all her long hours and dedication to her company.

Andrea Alston

I'm nominating Andrea Alston because even during the padenmic she gave outstanding service at her childcare center. She started a school for virtual learner in.the surrounded schools. Ms. Alston also follows & supports her childcare students and award them with a scholarship with they graduate high school. She gives parental advice and career growth. She is a pilar in our community.

Joel Ortiz

I am nominating this amazing artist and business man because he is truly gifted and hardworking. He has touched so many people through his work and remains humble. He is giving and works in his passion. His whole mission is to be an example for other emerging artist and the younger generation, to remind them it is never to late to live in your purpose. That the world needs our gifts. He truly deserves to be recognized and honored for his talents and I am beyond grateful to have been one of the people to experience his kind soul that pours into his art work.

Fresh Cup Coffee & Tea Company

This company was founded do the owner being laid off from the Covid-19 Pandemic. In the almost 2 years since then the business has continued to grow and help bring attention to other small businesses by Hosting monthly networking events so that these small businesses can be featured.

Howard Property Development

This Black owned Real Estate company is awesome!


After losing her mom 4 years ago and escaping an abusive relationship she took all pain and put it in to her passion. The energy that comes with her is unmatched. She’s extremely hard working and dedicated to making everyone who sits in her chair leave looking and feeling better inside and out! She truly a special person with a remarkable talent and this is only the beginning for her!

Ana's Tres leche cakes

This is a small business that started off in a small kitchen as an experiment to share some of the hispanic culture and love for our desserts, and slowly it is growing in Newport news and neighboring cities

Yugonda Sample-Jones

Yugonda exhibits a strong sense of community and a willingness to go the extra mile to get things done.

RLS Image Consulting

I couldn’t decide on nominating her for this category or the most influential. I think she deserves both her business RLS Image Consulting has been shitting the lives of women all over the DMV area. Her hard work and dedication is second to none. You find her in her business not only ensuring that women are confident but that they look good from the inside out. She has a way of encouraging, influencing and truly shifting a woman’s thought process and looking at herself as the powerful force that she is and allowing that to speak outwardly by what they wear. If she’s not influencing women, she’s building up the next generation of young women by teaching them how to carry themselves, love themselves and teaching them how to dress appropriately for all occasions. Not just to find their style but to find their purpose in life and expressing that through fashion. She truly is the epitome of both an emerging entrepreneur and the most influential person that I know. Women from all over seeker guidance for both style, prayer and inspiration. She also gives back through RLS Image Consulting by providing high school seniors, that may be financially unable to have a full prom makeover. That consists of dresses, shoes, hair and make up so that deserving young women could experience a stress-free prom event. She’s loving, kind and encourages business owners and entrepreneurs to do that very best in strive for greatness please select her!

Jelena White

Jelena has such a passion for what she is doing, Soon she will be taking the world by storm,

Solomon Hayes Lens Photography

Solomon began his business in 2015 and in 2021 be stepped away from his full-time job to become self-employed. Solomon felt the hits of the pandemic, as others did as well. Yet he stayed the course and grew in clientele, added a new service and still managed to provide great customer service, attend classes as HU while balancing life, business demands and providing exceptional service. For this and more I nominate Solomon Hayes for his perseverance, tenacity and advocation for entrepreneurship.


Chef Shauntel Davis, former owner of A Taste of Culture in Downtown Portsmouth, VA was inspired to create healthy dishes with a Southern/Caribbean flare. She was featured in several local publications and won several small business awards. In 2011, the recession hit, and many small businesses around Hampton Roads were shattered. Shauntel never lost her drive and utilized her B.A in teaching to stay afloat. She worked as a behavior specialist teaching children with autism, and other mental health disabilities. While working with these children and their families, I noticed a relationship between each child’s behaviors and their daily dietary habits. She also struggled with making health-conscious meal decisions and would notice changes in my emotions and feelings. She eventually found herself weighing over 250 lbs. and experienced several health issues. She found a way to incorporate my culinary skills with healthier food choices. This new way of thinking birthed the idea which grew from customized meal plans to a food truck named, Avocargo! Avocargo is famously known for its collard green egg rolls. The egg rolls and several different menu items highlight the ability to eat healthy while also enjoying the soul of southern cuisine. Avocargo has been honored to partner with several local entities such as NASA, Sentara Hospitals, VA Hospital, Virginia Arts Festival, public schools, and Breweries. Shauntel and her food truck have a following for her tasty foods. She too has helped me to make better eating choices and minimize processed food. I’m happy to nominate Chef Shauntel Davis.

Melissa Alexander

As founder and owner, Melissa has been at the helm of GMA Interventions since its inception as a behavioral health agency since 2015. Over the past 6 years, the agency has experienced exponential growth i.e. increasing the array of licensed services, securing major State partnerships, and opening locations throughout the 757 to increase accessibility for services for vulnerable populations. During the pandemic, Melissa navigated the agency through the ever-changing challenges and made the pivot to implement critical changes that enabled the agency to not only retain every staff person, but most importantly, continue to provide the pertinent mental health and substance abuse services to our clients. In fact, due to her skilled leadership, the agency actually added a new location in an underserved community — during a global pandemic! Melissa is a caring leadership who has a servant’s heart and strives to mentor and push her staff to recognize and maximize their full calling and potential. As a first generation college graduate who holds BS from Old Dominion. MA from Regent, and in the final semester for an Ed.D from Liberty, she is a fierce advocate for education and has a heart for individuals who are underserved and experience the barriers that limit their opportunities to living “the American dream”. I know you have many, many wonderful persons that are worthy of this honor; however, I can think of no one more deserving.

UnCommon Redesigns

Charie is not originally from the Hampton Roads region but has made this home. She is the Owner of Uncommon Redesigns, an amazing art studio in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Tourist and locals absolutely love the creativity, professionalism, and home feel when they attend one of her workshops ranging from family friendly events, girls night outs, self care and art therapy. She has created a fun new way to enjoy the region and take a peace of it home with you afterwards, especially with her beach resin tray workshops. She has recently created a new opportunity for other creatives and artist to gain exposure for the work to be on display, free of cost, and still be able to sell their artwork through her new venture, Local Artistry. She is creating a safe space for artist as well as customers to relax, have a great time, and express themselves through variety of workshops, and because of that, deserves the Emerging Entrepreneur Award.

Lazay Inc

She’s a beginner entrepreneur, very professional and clean, I love all her work and what she’s doing for the community

Inspired Home Health

I love working with seniors and it’s what I do everyday! I have found my passion and others can see it and benefit from it. I plan to launch a non-profit soon that will benefit the senior community that are caregivers and serve as an outlet for them.

Amir whitehurst

This young man has appeared on the Kelly Clarkson show (Jan 2022) for bringing smiles to others through viral holiday cheer videos. This young man is 18 Yrs young & started on social media at the age of 8 doing what he is passionate about “entertaining & especially dancing” he has won “best performance in his school talent show 2019. Amir is one of the city babies who has gone viral several times for their dancing energy performance videos. Amir is the maker of the WOYE ( water out your ear) which went viral as well. He & the city babies has opened up for LayLay. Amir also has music on Spotify and currently working on a dance song in studio now. He is a model oldest of 4 who brings his Siblings along on his journey of fun. Amir has started a YouTube channel & in one month became monetized in less than 2 months. Currently entertaining over 250k follows on all platforms together, he has had several dance videos, & social media videos go viral because of his persistence, drive, & constant creativity. His humbleness is next level offline he is quiet and says the least but gives love & gifts as tokens to family & friends & on camera he is a performer who knows how to get the crowds energy up. Amir OMG website is available now with soon to be tons of content and items to enjoy.

Three Roots of Dopeness

She has a very humble spirit , great personality and great work ethic . She is a very great Braider . She host Braid workshops and 1 on 1 workshops as well . She is a awesome mother to her two children .

Rickie Record Photography

Rickie Recardo Photography offers integrity and nothing less than customer satisfaction with new and repeat customers.

BP Real Estate

I am choosing myself because over the last year my business has grown and will continue to grow into a one stop shop real estate company.

Angel Addell

Angel Addell is a phenomenal business woman. She goes above and beyond for her customers. She has helps aspiring businesses owners and creators. She leads by example and provides great wisdom and feedback to help others. As she continues to soar she continues to help others.

Lakeisha Carey

Phenomenal attorney, philanthropist, author, mother, wife, and someone who started a firm that has helped countless of Virginia residents

Poolside Cooking

I've been in business for 25 years through the ups, the downs. Met so many people, busild numerous relationships, however in all my years I've never met a Business Person such as Jemmalyn Hewlette. She is absolutely amazing. A true innovator and visionary that "makes it happen." She successfully runs 7 Businesses including a Multi Faceted Media Business which is home to Poolside Cooking a National TV Show she founded. She gives back to the Community in so many ways and doesn't mind sharing her methods of achieving success.

Arrington Gavin

He has been an Entrepreneur/CEO for nearly 5 years. Great things have been accomplished in a short time and more great things are in store. Founder/CEO of Rugged Evolution Beard Care, co-owner of Rugged Evo Trucking, and Founder of The Rugged Evolution Foundation, Host of the R Smooth Club Podcast/TV show. He is motivated to help the youth in Hampton Roads as well as to be a good example and leader as a Business Owner for his fellow millennials. Accomplishing this at a young age (26).

Haley's Roofing

I nominate Haleys Roofing and Construction for the Emerge award. She is a Class A, Women-Owned, business that focusses on providing A+ Customer Service to my clients. Whenever I have a need, I reach out to Haleys Roofing to the requested work is done with quality and great workmanship. Not only is the work that this company offers is amazing the company operates with the upmost integrity. This is why I highly recommend Haleys Roofing.

Cierra Alston

The nominee has had tremendous growth and success. Their company focuses on catering too tier food to weddings, private dinners, weekly meals, & more. Started small selling plates that lead to catering multiple events monthly throughout the DMV area. They have held local events taking their money giving back to the community that has giving so much to them. Such events are set to provide gourmet meals & clothing to the less fortunate.

She Langley

She Langley is my younger sister. She has run her web development business for a few years. The web development space is not one that is steeped in equity. As a black person, and as a woman, she is erasing misconceptions about our capability in this field. She did a rebrand in the past year amid many personal challenges. She is an amazing parent, wife, sister and co-caregiver to our elder mother. She juggles a lot and remains an all around good human. She runs her business with great integrity and she inspires everyone she comes in contact with. She is the one that encouraged me to become an entrepreneur and is always willing to provide insight from all that she has learned throughout her journey. If She was not my sister, I would have nominated her anyway because she persevered, believing in herself and constantly improving and elevating. In these last few days of Women's History Month - I want to honor her for the history that she is making and the role model that she is for my daughter and hers. Please consider my sister, She (pronounced Shay) Langley as your Emerging Entrepreneur awardee.

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