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15 Returning Citizens Get the Chance to Win up to $10,000 Toward Their Entrepreneurial Dream

Monday, August 29, 2022

(WASHINGTON, DC) – On August 27, 2022, the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), in partnership with DC Public Library and the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, announced the winners of the WeAspire Pitch program. Fifteen (15) finalists of the 2022 WeAspire Pitch Program had the opportunity to pitch their businesses at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library in front of more than one hundred guests. The Five (5) winners of  $10,000 for their businesses are:

Princess Brownfield, Crown Elevate

Sharon Wise, Wise Workz

Maurice Dixon, Chef Reese

Asia Stevenson, DripOrDrown

Kinta Brown, United Mindz


WeAspire empowers returning citizens to build and scale their own businesses through cohort-based training for both aspiring entrepreneurs and established businesses. In May 2022, 26 returning citizens embarked on this 12-week-long program, gaining skills in leadership development, accounting, and marketing along with relevant work experience and connections to mentors. 


WeAspire started in 2016 at the request of Mayor Bowser as a pilot incubator program and has grown to be an annual program that continues to empower residents to pursue wealth-building through small business creation and growth while addressing the unique challenges returning citizens face with entrepreneurship. 

"Successful entrepreneurs aren't the ones who don't fall; they're the ones who keep getting up," said DSLBD Director Kristi Whitfield. "WeAspire recognizes the unique barriers many returning citizen entrepreneurs face when starting a business, addresses those challenges, and has become a national model for developing and training successful small business owners as a result.”


The 15 2022 WeAspire finalists are:

Asia Stevenson, DripOrDrown

Brian Reed, Mint Green

Chris McNeal, Million Book March

Joyce Moore, SyDiddy Chic

Keith Pendleton, Aahmenity

Kelvin Ford, Design 2 Print

Kinta Brown, United Mindz

Linwood Gray, Painless Catch

Maurice Dixon, Chef Reese

Michael Brown, Big S

Orlando Chappelle, With These Hands

Princess Brownfield, Crown Elevate

Sharon Wise, Wise Workz

Victoria Glaude, Tori Autumn

William T Lawson, Take a Chance on Dance


Every participant in WeAspire Pitch 2022 will be awarded at least $2,000 to grow their business. The 15 finalists will have the opportunity to win up to $10,000 plus in-kind services as the top prize winners. 

To learn more about the WeAspire Program, please visit