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Candice Matthews Brackeen

Among many titles she bears, Candice Matthews Brackeen is the Founder & CEO of Lightship Foundation which she founded to enable growth within the minority innovation community. Lightship Foundation believes internal diversity is the foundation of a truly impactful inclusion-focused program. Lightship Foundation leverages corporate partnerships, specialized programming, meaningful mentorship, and capital investments to drive growth within the minority innovation economy and serve underrepresented entrepreneurs and ecosystems.

Brackeen started her journey in tech 8 years ago and, like many entrepreneurs, her first venture was unsuccessful. But around that same time, according to an interview conducted by the Cincinnati Enquirer in July 2022, Brakeen saw a report called "Project Diane" which found that less than 1% of venture capital goes to Black-led companies. Brackeen decided this was the problem she wanted to fix, so she started an accelerator to support women and people of color in tech. 

Fast forward to today and, according to Brackeen, Lightship Foundation provides education for remarkable founders throughout the Midwest. "We typically avoid San Francisco, New York and Boston, instead investing in Black, Indigenous, people of color, both from the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities in the Midwest." Lightship runs programs in multiple cities, including Cincinnati and Tulsa, and they run accelerator programming, boot camps, online pitch competitions, and biweekly meetups for entrepreneurs.

Thanks to the leadership of Candice Matthews Brackeen, Lightship Foundation provides remarkable founders with the resources and direction their businesses need to scale.