WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream ("MCAAD") launched the fourth season of its podcast, "Start Small, Dream BIG," featuring conversations with six Black small business owners who received $25,000 enhancement grants from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Coalition to Back Black Businesses ("CBBB") initiative to help take their business to the next level.

The "Start Small, Dream BIG" podcast celebrates the courage, vision and tenacity of small business owners of all kinds and highlights their contributions to the local communities, and the advancement towards their American Dream. During the interviews, MCAAD President and podcast host Kerry Healey uncovers each guest's unique pathway to their version of the American Dream and listens to the guests' thoughts on how others might unlock their potential.

This season, Healey interviewed a few of the 25 inspirational entrepreneurs who received CBBB's enhancement grant for promising and innovative Black-owned small businesses. During these interviews, listeners will learn more about these stories of remarkable resilience as guests describe overcoming obstacles in pursuit of achieving the American Dream.

The CBBB is a multi-year grantmaking and training initiative to help support Black-owned small businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative, launched in Fall 2020, provides grants to qualifying Black-owned small businesses through 2023.

"Small business is at the heart of every vibrant community. Black-owned small businesses were initially the hardest hit by COVID-19 – with 41% closing their doors by April of 2020. Eighteen months later, Black entrepreneurs have persevered and are experiencing the strongest rebound of all business owners, exceeding even pre-pandemic levels. Programs like the CBBB are critical to ensuring the success of Black-owned small businesses," commented Healey. "I admire the vision, determination and ambition of the entrepreneurs I met this season on 'Start Small, Dream BIG'. They continue to blast through multiple barriers in pursuit of their unique American Dreams."

The guests this season include:

C. Anthony Parker, Elk City Auto-Spa from Charleston, West Virginia

Elk City Auto Spa is a family-owned, full-service auto detailing company located in downtown Charleston, West Virginia. Elk City Auto Spa specializes in engine bay detailing, exterior wax and buffing, interior deep-cleaning, and shampooing carpets and seats—all to transform a car from an ordinary vehicle to a pristine automobile that customers are proud to drive.

Tiffany Nordé, Dancing with the Nordés from Lansing, Michigan

Dancing with the Nordés was created to give working adults a positive outlet to de-stress from the day by way of good music, people and dancing. The business offers urban-style line-dancing, Detroit-style ballroom and Zumba classes that allow people to express their culture while drawing attention to their health. Dance instructions are catered to the beginner in mind, but also welcoming enough for the intermediate/experienced dancer.

Caryn Clopton, Excel Cleaning Services from Nashville, Tennessee

Excel Cleaning Services is a full-service commercial cleaning company supporting private and government facilities with nightly cleaning, final construction clean-up, special project work, and facility support through vendor consolidation. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Excel's commitment to clients is a clean and healthy workspace, continuously trained technicians, and a superior standard of cleanliness for large and small organizations alike.

Najee Ellerbe, Everybody's Juice from Washington, DC

Everybody's Juice is a nutrition company based in Washington, DC, offering cold-pressed juices and meal plans as a convenient way for the community to live a plant-powered lifestyle. Transparency, honesty, and community are the values Everybody's Juice espouses for employees and customers alike.

Melissa Hyles, Oak Tree Financial Services from Rancho Cucamonga, California

Oak Tree Financial and Tax Services is a hard-working, family-owned financial services firm based in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Established in 1994 by the founder's late father, Francis Hyles, Oak Tree Services has over 25+ years of experience providing clients with easily digestible information regarding their finances. The company specializes in personal and business tax returns and other financial services that help businesses get on financial track.

Tarsha Scovens, Let's Go Outdoors from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Let's Go Outdoors (LGO) is an extraordinary, young and growing, outdoor-focused organization, serving constituents and communities in Philadelphia and the surrounding region. LGO's primary mission is to connect city communities to outdoor and/or environmental experiences (such as archery, camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing, watershed education, etc.), with a special focus on under-represented groups and people of color. With a diverse team of educators, LGO, a minority female-owned business, is engaging youth through adults in unique year-round programs.

To hear the stories of these extraordinary entrepreneurs, tune in to the "Start Small, Dream BIG" podcast at https://www.mcaad.org/explore/category/start-small-dream-big. Additional information on CBBB can be found at https://webackblackbusinesses.com.


The Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream (MCAAD)'s mission is to advance economic and social mobility for people in America and around the world. The Center celebrates people who exemplify the ideal of the American Dream, confronts barriers to opportunity, and catalyzes solutions that advance economic and social mobility for all. MCAAD focuses on expanding access to four pillars of the American Dream: good health, quality education, economic freedom, and an entrepreneurial mindset. Across these four pillars, the Center will offer a broad array of educational programs, events and convenings, research and polling, and films, documentaries, and podcasts—all designed to broaden opportunity. In 2023, the Center will open its physical doors on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. to visitors around the world. For more information, visit www.mcaad.org.


Prosek Partners on behalf of MCAAD

About The Coalition to Back Black Businesses

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses was established in September 2020 with a $10 million commitment to fund a grant program, over four years, to help Black-owned small businesses recover from the disproportionate impact of COVID-19. The grant program is administered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in partnership with the National Black Chamber of CommerceNational Business LeagueU.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and Walker's Legacy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is a private sector 501(c)(3) charity affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is not a government agency.


Yagmur Cosar on behalf of CBBB