We’re thrilled to spotlight one of the dazzling victors from our 2023 Women of Color Incubator Pitch Competition. These rising Black women entrepreneurs are set to ignite a flame of inspiration and drive in other aspiring young Black women entrepreneurs—and indeed, in all of us—encouraging the pursuit of their own entrepreneurial dreams with newfound zeal and passion.

Meet Raina Ford, Founder & CEO of Project I See U LLC and 1st Place Awardee from Howard University.

What inspired you to start your business? 

I grew up with an older sibling who had a disability and oftentimes my parents’ attention would be completely shifted towards her, causing me to feel lonely and isolated. Once I matured a little more and understood my purpose, I knew that I needed to be the support system and resource, for other siblings like me, that I wish I had growing up.

What has the entrepreneurship journey looked like for you so far? 

My entrepreneurship journey has been hectic to say the least but also the most rewarding at the same time. I started my company my junior year of high school so managing schoolwork, sports, and extracurriculars in addition to my business was no easy task. However, my support system behind me has really helped me to stay levelheaded and focused on my goals at hand.

What has been the most rewarding part of being a young female entrepreneur? 

The most rewarding part of being a female entrepreneur is the sisterhood that I have gained and that is slowly but surely growing of other female bosses that I can look up to and admire. Also, the little girls that I have been able to connect with and positively impact have been life changing.

Where do you see yourself in one year? How about 5 years? 

In the next year, I see myself and my company culminating relationships on my college campus, Howard University, to hopefully be able to impact the greater DMV area. In the next 5 years I see myself and Project I See U as an established and recognizable company who has been able to donate a significant amount of resources and money to sibling mental health research, services, and enrichment programs. Also, I hope to have developed more characters for siblings to relate to ensure that everyone sees themselves represented.

What advice would you give to other female founders just starting their business? 

The biggest piece of advice I would give to female founders is to remember your why and your purpose as a creator and human being. It is easy to get influenced by others and lose your initial drive that you had in the beginning stages, however, you must stay the course and make sure that as long as you are running your business, your entire heart is still in the process.

How did you first learn about the WBENC WOC Incubator?

I learned about the WBENC WOC Incubator program through my African American Studies teacher. She emphasized how wonderful the program would be in terms of mentorship and exposure for young Black women and their business ideas.

How would you describe your experience in the WOC Incubator Program? 

My experience while participating in the incubator program was very unique because I had come into the program with an established and licensed business. Nonetheless, that didn’t prohibit me from learning or growing as a businesswoman. All of the ladies that I met who had their own ideas and passions were so motivating and fulfilling for me. Their presence caused me to think bigger for me and my business.

What did you learn during the WOC Incubator program that will help you grow your business? 

The biggest thing that I learned during the program was to stand on my business idea and not waver in the midst of confusion or outside influence. It is easy to feel like you need to change yourself or your idea based on one person’s opinion, but if you are truly confident in yourself and your ideas, no person should be able to diminish or steer you away from your dreams.

What’s next for you and your business? 

The next step for my business is expanding our product line because of the feedback we have received wanting more products specific to our main character, Leah. Our goal is also to start creating partnerships with hospitals and presenting in their facilities for siblings to serve as an added layer of support.

Visit Project I See U LLC


Raina Ford
Founder & CEO | Project I See U LLC

Project I See U LLC is an organization that seeks to raise awareness about the unique emotional needs of kids who are the siblings of children that have a chronic illness or disability through products such as easy reader books and other merchandise. We advocate for sibling centric services; support research and programming; and offer educational resources for families, educators and providers. In addition, we strive to provide allyship, advocacy, information and resources while we spread awareness.