Life as a Cornell entrepreneur: ‘I have people in my corner who inspire me’

Richlove Nkansah ’26 was buzzing with excitement the week before spring break – she had just launched her business and was headed to California to pitch it to a group of Silicon Valley Cornell alumni and entrepreneurs.

Nkansah is the co-founder, with Harmony Prado ’24, of CultureCare, a digital platform for BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color) therapists to manage their practice and connect to clients. They met during Nkansah’s first year, at the Engaged to Empower hackathon, where they worked to develop an idea focused on mental health related to children.

“We both come from backgrounds where mental health isn’t talked about a lot,” Nkansah said. “And we realized that when we did reach out for help, it was mostly from people who weren’t representative of us. There was a gap with understanding and receiving the help we needed.”

CultureCare was accepted into the eLab student business accelerator this year, so they’ve been working on customer discovery, business planning and growth strategies under the guidance of eLab instructors and alumni mentors. They traveled to New York City for a pitch event in the fall, as well as organized the spring trip to California.

two women looking backward
Chris Kitchen Nkansah, left, and Prado, right

Nkansah and Prado have pivoted their platform since their initial idea to focus on serving therapists. CultureCare’s platform allows therapists to work with clients, as well as share resources on business management and marketing and write articles to share new information on treatment and research findings with each other.

Nkansah, an information science major in The College of Arts & Sciences, is the chief technical officer for the company while Prado is the CEO and handles the business and marketing aspects.

"We’re doing this together. When one person’s load becomes a lot, we communicate, and the other person helps to fill the gap," Nkansah said.

Along with running the business, Nkansah is a member of the executive board for Underrepresented Minorites in Computing, she’s a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and is a McNair Scholar, a program that supports BIPOC students interested in obtaining doctoral degrees. She’s interested in graduate work related to behavioral science, mental health and children.

“Everything has been aligning pretty well,” she said. “I’m in this English class [Curiosity: The Science and Literature of Knowing Too Much] and that’s been helping me connect to the research aspect of working with kids. My info sci and CS [computer science] classes are helping me to build the technical skills and team management skills I need.”

Nkansah started her time at Cornell as part of the Pre-Collegiate Sumer Scholars Program (PSSP), which brings first-year students to campus for eight weeks before their first semester.

“PSSP helped me established a great group of friends and that has been transformative for my experience at Cornell so far,” she said.

Starting a business has also helped Nkansah gain confidence in her abilities. “When I first started, it was hard speaking in front of people I didn’t know. But I’ve learned to have faith and believe in myself,” she said. “Plus, I have people in my corner who inspire me, push me harder and hold me accountable if I’m not on the right track.”

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woman standing with arms crossed
Chris Kitchen Richlove Nkansah '26