Denkyem [den-tchyem]

The two-headed crocodile represents adaptability and unity. The crocodile is adaptable because it can live in water and on land. This is an important trait for entrepreneurs! The two heads serve as a reminder of our unity, because if we fight over food, we starve. We share the same stomach. Let’s Eat!

We believe that a thriving Black Business Community serves as an anchor to Black economic mobility. 

Denkyem Co-op is a Social Purpose Organization based in Washington state. We are a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), providing direct funding to Black-owned businesses looking to increase their capacity.


Denkyem creates safe pathways for Black entrepreneurship and innovation.


We envision a world where Black-owned small businesses have the resources, support, and trust needed to sustain and grow their enterprises; serving as a beacon in the greater community.

Core Values











"Denkyem helped me to see my blind spots."

-Devin Stubblefield, Faith Finance Center

The Story of Our Founders

While Dion was teaching third grade, Rudy was serving on the Board of Directors at the same school. After two years of building a relationship over meals and conversations, the two of them found common ground. They were both passionate about promoting industry and self-efficacy in the community. Rudy and Dion started out by collaborating with a local non-profit that serves children in south Seattle. They continue this work through Denkyem.

Dion Cook Headshot2

Dion Cook

Co-Founder & CEO

Dion has a background in business and education. He values community and he maintains the mission and vision of Denkyem. He is a recent graduate of Leadership Tomorrow (LT '20) and current member of the Boston Impact Initiative Fund Building Cohort. He also serves on the board of Community Credit Lab.


Rudy Gadre


Rudy Was the General Counsel at Facebook, and prior to that, the fourth lawyer hired at Amazon. He is dedicated to investing into Seattle. As Denkyem's biggest advocate, he provides financial backing and strategic insight. In addition, Rudy is an active angel investor and general Partner at Founder's Co-op.

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