On October 1, Bull City Forward welcomes its inaugural class of Forward Fellows – a cohort of high-impact social entrepreneurs who will work together to improve and grow their ventures and engage the Durham community. They will receive technical and financial support from BCF and program sponsors and funders, which include The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, LinkedIn for Good, The Snyderman Fund, and Vivisum Partners. The six-month fellowship program helps the Fellows scale the social, economic, and environmental impact of their ventures.

The Forward Fellows include Keval Mehta, founder and CEO of the personalized healthcare app, “INRFOOD,” which allows users to receive guidance for optimal eating options based on personalized health parameters; Rachel Lichte, co-founder of the Clarity Project, which is an international fair jewelry enterprise that invests profits into the mining communities from which it ethically sources diamonds, gems, and metals; Hakeem Moore, a service disabled combat veteran, is the Founder and CEO of i-Suntari, which creates and helps scale veteran owned and operated agri-businesses that expand food access and economic opportunities for vulnerable communities; Tatiana Birgisson, founder and CEO of Mati, an organic, fair-trade beverage company that “quenches consumer thirst, compromise-free” – her products can be found in retailers around Durham; and, Jack Beuttell, co-founder of Venture Farming, who sees the future of food as “a diversified system of environmentally and economically resilient organic farms.”

Mr. Mehta’s sponsor, The Snyderman Foundation, which is committed to improving the health of the Durham community, the nation, and the world, says, “We are proud to partner with Bull City Forward by sponsoring Keval Mehta as the Snyderman Foundation’s first Forward Fellow. His company INRFOOD provides consumers with easily understandable information that can help them make wiser nutritional choices for themselves and their families. We believe that empowering individuals in this way can contribute to healthy behaviors that are central to improving our nation’s health.”

Says Paula Alexander, Director of Sustainable Business and Innovation at Burt’s Bees, “with our foundation’s strategic giving focus on innovative programs that support both human and honeybee health, we are excited to sponsor a Forward Fellowship for entrepreneur Jack Beuttell, co-founder of Venture Farming, as he develops a new model for supporting the growth of organic farming in North Carolina. By taking part in Bull City Forward’s Forward Fellowship program, we know that Jack will receive high quality leadership training, mentorship and connections to help his venture succeed.”

On December 10th Bull City Forward will host more than 200 business and community leaders and social entrepreneurs to introduce the Forward Fellows and its new Executive Director to the community. The American Underground on Main Street has generously donated the event space and tickets and sponsorships are available. For more information, please visit: bcfwintercelebration.eventbrite.com.

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