National Finale Judges

headshot of Colby Takeda

Colby Takeda

Colby Takeda, MPH, MBA is the co-founder and CEO of Pear Suite, a digital health startup working to address social determinants of health by empowering community health workers. Colby is a former senior living executive and previously led policy and partnerships for the Blue Zones Project by Sharecare. Passionate about developing the next generation of healthcare leaders, Colby also teaches courses for both community health workers and public health students. After completing his undergraduate studies in exercise science at Willamette University, Colby completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Shidler College of Business, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

Courtney Couch

Courtney Couch is a businesswoman who is passionate about many things, but these three top her list: making meaningful connections, building quality brands, and strengthening her community. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, Courtney earned her Masters at NYU in Corporate Communication + PR then later moved to LA where she launched creative. creative focuses on business + creative strategy, branding, marketing and activations. Her agency has provided services to corporations such as the NFL, Adidas, Puma, Marvel as well as A-list talent such as Travis Scott, YG, Rajon Rondo, and MoneyBagg Yo.

Courtney served as the Director of Marketing at Atlantic Records where she project managed a roster of artists including multi-platinum rapper Don Toliver. After leaving Atlantic Records, Courtney resumed her work at creative full-time and founded Crown Luxe Ventures, a SPV inclusive of athletes, entertainers and entrepreneurs investing in private companies—proudly bringing the culture to the cap table and raising $1M for Path Water in 3 weeks. Courtney is currently a strategic advisor for Path Water & the VP of Marketing at Interscope Geffen Records.

headshot of Courtney Couch
headshot of Jason Barnett

Jason Barnett

Jason currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Invest Detroit, focusing on providing financing to promote small business growth and development and neighborhood retail. He is a small business subject matter expert who has been a speaker/panelist locally and nationally. Jason was recognized as a Trail Blazer during Black History Month by CBS and as a Man of Excellence by the Michigan Chronicle. He serves as a board member for the Detroit Community Loan Fund and as the board chair of the Michigan Certified Development Corporation (MCDC), Michigan’s Largest SBA 504 lender.

The Story: Empowered to Serve Business Accelerator Finale

It was an inspiring event as an innovative group of entrepreneurs told their stories for a chance at $75,000!

Watch the virtual finale by tapping the play button.