Entrepreneur Spotlight: Tanaka Shipp

Owner of Queenshipp

Tanaka Shipp is the founder and CEO of Queenshipp, an organization that focuses on youth empowerment through experiential education. Queenshipp’s mission is to empower all young people, including queer, trans, and non-binary students. “We believe that every young person deserves a support system that affirms their identity and helps them reach their full potential.” Inclusion is deeply embedded in the mission of Queenshipp, which is very personal to Tanaka. “I am a woman from southern Mississippi, and I know firsthand the stigma that comes with being part of the LBGTQNB community. I recently came into my own and, in being true to who I am, I wanted to create a space in school where students feel safe and can be addressed as they want to.”

Tanaka has worked in education for most of her career and was inspired to develop experiential learning environments after having the opportunity to travel abroad twice when she was a college student at Jackson State. As a black girl from a small town, these experiences changed her trajectory on how she viewed the world, and she wanted to give those same experiences to young people who might not otherwise have the opportunity. The ultimate goal for Queenshipp is to eventually launch Queenshipp Intl with an emphasis on supporting queer, trans, and non-binary students on a global scale.

When Tanaka joined RMMFI’s Business Launch Boot Camp, she had just launched her business a month prior. Her biggest takeaway from the program was having coaches and mentors as supporters who enforced a model of how to be a good leader. “RMMFI positioned us to take leadership roles within the program, which equipped us to be leaders in our own businesses and the community outside of the program.” Tanaka recently celebrated her organization’s one-year anniversary on December 1st and has received four different grants for program stability within her first year of operating her business. Her financial coach, Laura Mendez, has become a community partner for Queenshipp, providing financial literacy courses to 150 students across all schools.

You can keep up with Queenshipp on Instagram or on their website — the organization is always in need of volunteer youth mentors!