Many books on startups and business talk about how there are right and wrong reasons for starting a business. So, we asked a handful of successful founders about their reasons and the thought-process behind starting their business.

Brittney Adams | Owner and CEO of Focus & Frame Eyewear

In starting my own business I felt it was imperative to research as much as possible. In researching heavily prior to starting I was able to gain a wealth of knowledge on my industry as well as understand and develop my own business plan. Having a foundation when starting a business can really position you for sustainability. Read more>>

Shatora Chappell-Gouthia | CEO & Gift Designer of Once Upon A Gem

The thought process for starting “Once Upon A Gem”, stemmed from me having an opportunity to be artistic, creative and entrepreneurial.I have the pleasure of searching for clever and unique items, thus pulling those items together in an attractive container to create a charming presentation that delivers infinite satisfaction to the giver and the recipient. We are firm believers that a giver should be able to gift without the barrier of pricing. Read more>>

Lori Feil | Founder, CEO Pajama Rama

My first thought was “What can I do to make a difference that positively impacts the lives of children and teens in need?” As we were first developing our mission, I researched a local children’s hospital to see their needs list. One item on the list that stood out was pajamas, and with that Pajama Rama was born. Since that time, we have impacted the lives of thousands of children in hospitals like Cook Children’s, Children’s Medical Center Dallas, and Texas Scottish Rite where we have provided the comfort of new pajamas. Because of our growth, we have also branched out to support several community outreach non-profits that help disadvantaged, abused, and neglected children and teens. We regularly deliver pajamas to places like Community Partners of Dallas and Children’s Advocacy Centers of Dallas and Denton County who serve children that often have never had pajamas before. Once we had our mission established, I quickly learned there was so much we had to do to start a successful nonprofit organization. Read more>>

Dinh Chau-Kieckhafer | Founder / Chairman

At the turn of the century, I’d received my Bachelor in Fine Arts from UNLV. With a degree in hand, I’d discovered my passion and creation of art does not translate to the economic/financial world of today. Like so many artists, I spent years working in the corporate world simply to earn a living. A few years later, I accomplished what so many MBA graduates aspired to accomplished, I was awarded the position of VP of Operation. Three months after that, I discovered my position was simply not satisfactory and I didn’t understand why I was feeling the way that I did. Financially, I was secured, but I was simply miserable and sad. I wanted to quit, so I went to HR, told them I was not happy. What do you think they did? They interpreted my unhappiness to money, so they’d double my salary. Essentially making me the highest paid staff under the President/Owner. By my wanting to resign, I’d inadvertently broke the “glass ceiling”. With the amount of money thrown my way, I stayed on the job. Four months later, I am even more miserable. Read more>>

Brittany Elliott | Tattoo Artist and Heavy Metal Furniture Maker

I wanted to start a shop that encompassed everything I was passionate about; Tattooing, music, and art. I wanted to start a business of my own so that I could showcase all of my talents in and outside of tattooing. It’s also nice not having to answer to someone and being my own boss. Read more>>

Ana Carrillo | CEO of Unified Strategy Advisor

Thought process to starting my own business is one of trial and error with a splash of self discovery. I started off wanting what so many people often want. The financial freedom, the do good be good feels, and most importantly living with purpose. After 5 years in an Multi-level marketing business and a year full of burying 4 family members in the middle of a pandemic I quickly realized I had to find out what really drives me. Which wants were mine and which were wants that sounded good because they were someone else’s and I made them mine because I still didn’t know what I wanted. Blessed by my 5 years of great friendships and amazing leadership I set out to find my true reason for being and what is behind my serving in the Insurance Industry. I branched out to become independent and started to serve people without the feeling of moving up. Don’t get me wrong moving up is important and needed to scale but in the phase I’m in I just want to serve unconditionally. Read more>>

Ashley Brooks | Brokerage & Emcee

The concept of “The Caribbean Kickback” came about shortly after myself (Ashley- founder), Donovan (founder) and a group of our friends attended a Jouvert during Dallas Carnival weekend. Dallas Carnival is a yearly celebration that spans an entire weekend in September. It includes parties such as Jouvert (a paint, powder and water fete) and a carnival parade of bands. Given that we had both experienced how massive and culturally captivating a Jouvert celebration could be, we wanted to share this experience with others in Dallas, especially with those who have never been to one before. We decided to bring together a fairly large group of interested persons and convinced them to attend, almost 50 people. We coordinated bringing food, drinks, chairs and tables and had a nice set up on the grounds. Our friends had a blast. They enjoyed the music and the energy of the crowd and we all enjoyed connecting with other Caribbean people that enjoyed the same. Read more>>

Janna Gordoni | Founder & CEO of Modern Daughter

God put this nonprofit ministry, Modern Daughter on my heart years ago after I had just come out of a very difficult season of healing from eating disorders, anxiety, self harm, suicide and depression. I realized that their was a need for people to have a judgement free space to share with others what they were walking through and healing from. I wanted to create a space for community to happen. Where people who have been struggling in areas of mental health, emotional trauma, abuse, physical disorders or illnesses could come and be encouraged by others who may be walking through the same or similar circumstances. Read more>>

Carrie Thomas | Social Worker & Podcast Host

Talk is Cheap podcast started after many years and months of me contemplating about starting a platform for mental health awareness. I was thinking of the best idea to spread awareness and get others involved to share their stories or their journey to know that you are not alone in this world. I really felt the need to start the podcast during the start of Covid-19. Read more>>

Jonathan Batiste | Executive Chef & Entrepreneur

During my career path, I’ve always seen and vision myself managing my own business. To do that, I had to take paths to develop my skills and experience. With any business, you have to have a plan or structure on how you want to pursue it. I had decided that I wanted to run my own business in 2015. I was already in management now, so I went to pursue my bachelor’s in business management then later completing with my master’s in business administration. This would also help me gain the knowledge I needed to set up a business structure, such as tools I needed to be successful, learn the logistics of it all. next, create a business plan. This helped me form and outline my business. Working in the retail industry has molded me into the leadership roles I needed to take to run my own event corporation. I knew it would be a long journey ahead. I always enjoyed entertaining. Whether it was a family gathering are hanging out with friends, they would say that I was the life of the party. Read more>>

Andrew and Julia Stier | Creators of The Sketch Comedy Channel, Adult Children

When the pandemic hit, and my brother Andrew and I found ourselves living with our parents, we decided to make the most of it by doing something we had always talked about — creating our own content! We had both been wanting to get into writing and shooting sketch comedy videos, but both had been overwhelmed by the idea of doing it all on our own. So when we found ourselves quarantining together, we thought, PERFECT! We have everything we need — free time, material (I mean come on, we were living at home, these sketches were practically writing themselves), and, most importantly, we had each other. Thus, Adult Children was born!. Read more>>

Victoria Blosch | Illustrator & Brand Designer

From an early age, I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I’ve listened to a lot of other business owners speak who describe the same early telltale signs. For me it was creating flower pens and bracelets to sell at school, for others it was lemonade stands or car washes. I fell in love with the interaction of a sale. The thrill of knowing I provided value to someone whether it be through a product or service, and for that value they would actually pay me for it! As a creative it was inspiring. Starting a freelance graphic design business wasn’t a quick decision overnight or even over the course of a year. I would describe it as something that I desired and consistently worked towards in the background. Eventually it came to a point of realizing my potential and believing in my capability to take the steps to make it a reality. Read more>>

Adley Vahue | United States Air Force Veteran, Husband, DJ, current Graduate Student, & Future Clinical Psychologist

I am a United States Air Force veteran, and while I was in the Air Force, I started doing DJ gigs as a side job. I started DJ’ing regularly in 2009 when I was stationed in Tucson, Arizona. I DJ’ed at bars, nightclubs, restaurants, etc., and also had opportunities to DJ other events like fashion shows, fundraisers, and events for a cause. Fast forward to 2018, and at that time, I was one year out from separating the military before I started graduate school at Baylor University. I talked to my wife Meagan about the prospect of starting our own wedding DJ business to help support us through my schooling and as a way to continue my love for DJ’ing. Thus, in 2018 while I was stationed in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, my wife and I broke into the wedding DJ scene and began our business doing wedding gigs on the weekends. When I separated from the military in June 2019, I moved to the Waco area shortly after but began marketing our business from Florida to start gigging right away in Texas. Read more>>

Nadidah Coveney | CEO, Leadership Executive Certified Coach, Speaker, DISC Trainer

My background is in the Financial Industry. I’ve worked with many clients providing guidance on their business money management, their business growth, talent management, and many more. I’ve always had a passion for helping others. One day while out on a call with one of my business clients, he said, “you are really good at this stuff. You’ve provided valuable guidance more than you needed to over the years we’ve worked together. You’ve coached me and my employees. Why don’t you start your own business”? I chuckled. He then went on to say, I know what you’ve done for my business and my employees. You should be charging me for this. I responded by saying, I’m truly happy to serve. He then went on to say, think of a business name, get it registered, and send me a bill for my services. This is when CTM Consulting Group was formed and he was my first paying client. I am absolutely grateful for his persistence and believing in me and pushing me to embrace my potential. Read more>>

Krystal Watford | Dope Soul and Creator, Owner and Operator

It was all a dream…(in my Biggie voice). Although Wildly Creative Designs wasn’t born out of reading Word Up! Magazine, it was born from a love and passion for creativity. I always say that there’s this little spark inside of people that, like any living thing needs to be nurtured to grow. That spark grows with each creative thought and action you make. Whether you realize it or not, from that picture you had to draw in Kindergarten to your college entrance essay, you fed your spark. Mine was just greedy. I went from using all 62 colors on my fresh white keds my mom bought, to cutting up my jeans and using them as a blank canvas for neon acrylics. Now, with all this technology and machinery at my disposal…that spark is bigger than me….and she’s unstoppable. Read more>>

Mayura Kulkarni | Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

I remember being a nursing student and encountering “mean older nurses” who wouldn’t try to encourage me or teach me. I remember one nurse particularly who discouraged me constantly and made me feel like I would not make a good NICU nurse. It was in that moment I knew that I would serve as a mentor to future nurses once I graduated from nursing school. I decided to start my IG page in 2018 to document my journey through NP school and share tips to future nurses. I wanted to be that person who could help future nurses. As my page started to grow I knew I needed to create a resource for future nurses to be able to speak to me 1-1 for more advice and guidance. This is what lead me to start my business, Nurse Mayura! My business offers services to guide students and nurses to help them succeed in their nursing path!. Read more>>

Rohan K Shrestha | Entrepreneur / Innovator

I came to the United States in 2008 as a student for my college degree. I did not know who I wanted to be or where I wanted to go. I didn’t know my purpose in life. As an international student, my life was very difficult. I was working multiple jobs in order to pay for tuition and bills as I was taking full-term classes. Life was good but very challenging at the same time. Therefore, I needed to figure out how to provide for my family. I dropped out of college and started my entrepreneur journey opening a boutique. I was selling clothes door to door and it helped me develop my communication skills with customers. I learned how to study my customers on a deeper level. Since my clothing line was a traditional shop, it was only doing well during peak seasons. I wanted to grow and do better but I was completely lost and didn’t know what would be my next move in business. Finally, when I saw that the technology market is thriving and social media is influencing the world. Read more>>

Anntreece Jones | Owner, Writer, Director & Producer of Anntreece Jones Productions

I wanted to create my own platform for my own play, tv, and film productions, to bring my content to life. I was tired of being told no and being treated as if I was a nobody. At that point I made a promise to myself that from that day going forward, I was determined to brand myself and let the world see how creative I am as a woman and how I am able to reach the heart and soul of my viewers. Having integrity, believing in myself, walking by faith, and desiring to leave a legacy for my family to follow and build upon is my yellow brick road to success. This isn’t just about me though, I have a whole army behind me. I want to give back and open up avenues where the unseen talent in my city can be seen!! I am going to bring Hollywood to my city, to Fort Worth, TX!! A woman without a vision will parish… and I’m far from that, I am a visionary who has a heart for the lost, those who are hurting, the scorned and abused, Anntreece Jones Productions will be known across the world as a power house production company. Read more>>

Michelle / Rita Dielle Mallette / Narcisse Broussard | Interior Design

While working together at our old firm, we connected with our similar design styles and we looked forward to being paired on the same team. The thought process behind starting Defined ID, LLC. was to showcase our individual artistic talents because in the workplace we felt silenced and unappreciated. We wanted to be able to freely express our love for design through our vision. Read more>>

Jas Mardis | Fabric, Leather Portrait and Print Artist, Writer and Storyteller

My business is Art and Literature with the majority of that focus being Creating Fabric Art, Print and Leather Portraits that feature narratives. I am coming back to the fabric art creating after years of being a Writer, Editor and Storyteller in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and being inducted to the 2014 class of The Texas Literary Hall of Fame. After that time I was invited to share a lot thru conferences, workshops and teaching opportunities that often included me bringing along quilting and art objects that carried the writing ideas to fruition. I’ve always done all of these practices simultaneously and speak of how they are all connected and intertwined. So, when I was offered the chance to bridge them all into a business model that presents me qualified and expert across the genres…I launched it. There have always been opportunities to monetize my art, but this time and place gives me clout; street credibility across these audiences. Read more>>

Catrina/Tinesha Wofford/Darrough | CEO’s

Becoming an entrepreneur has always been the ultimate goal for us. Our love for home decor is what sparked the idea to create custom decorative pillows. Ask yourself who doesn’t love pillows? We saw an opportunity in an industry that not many African Americans had dominated. Read more>>

Annie Combs | Entrepreneur

My thought process behind starting my own business was that I wanted to make an easily accessible and unique gift giving business for my local community. More than anything though, I wanted it to be a fun and new experience for myself! At first, I was not sure where this new beginning would take me or how far it would grow, I was just excited to bring to life fun ideas I had had in the past!. Read more>>

Landry Braud | Travel Blogger, Travel Advisor & Dental Hygienist

I’ve always had a passion for travel, and after my first trip to Europe, I quickly realized I fell in love with places I had never been and people I had never met. I knew my soul longed to explore as much of this beautiful world as humanly possible. After going through a hard divorce a few years back, I realized life was too short to not actively seek out and do the things that make you happy and feel alive. That year, I booked a much needed trip to Ireland with a few of my friends. I planned our whole road trip around the country, and had so much fun doing it. After sharing moments I had documented throughout our trip via social media, I had several friends reach out to me and want to know my itinerary, as my travels had inspired them to want to visit Ireland and plan a similar trip! I then quickly realized that I loved sharing my travel recommendations and stories with people, and that I could turn my love for travel into a fun side hustle. Read more>>

Jayhlin Michele | Writer and Ceo of Glossin Boutique

All of my life I’ve known that no matter what I do in this world, I want it to impact others. Make a difference even if it may be a small difference. Knowing that passion in my heart along with the realities of the world and needing to pay for things and expenses, I thought why not make money while doing what I love. I am a writer/ poet and I just released my first poetry book which took a lot mentally for me to prepare for, but it’s all mind over matter and putting faith in myself and my work. The same thing for my boutique that I started, it was all mind over matter and putting positivity in myself to build confidence in what I’m releasing. Read more>>

Jake Danklefs | Custom Sneaker Designer

I didn’t really have one. It started with me just making custom shoes for fun, then people started requesting and buying them and it snowballed to me making more money than I was at my full time job.I quit my full time and I haven’t looked back since. Read more>>

Yolanda Lewis | Avid Jewelry lover & Auditor

It was just an idea, for about three years and honestly wasn’t sure it would come to fruition. When I thought of the idea; I was a single mother and I had a very active daughter. Additionally, I was working a full time job and had other obligations so it would have been very difficult to start a business, work full time, support my daughter and keep up with other obligations. Read more>>

Taylor Kirk | Teacher and Creator of tayloredforUS

I started my business tayloredforUS in order to empower Black people. I wanted to produce garments with BOLD statements that allowed Black people to feel seen in a world that often devalues and overlooks us. So often, we have to navigate spaces and work environments that force us to push aspects of our identities to the side. It can be truly exhausting. Because of that, I wanted to ensure I was creating something that allowed Black people to feel free in their being. Black people are amazing and I hope my pieces remind the world of that!. Read more>>

Thaddeus Franklin | CEO of 92Retro

92Retro was a thought I had about 2 years ago. I was born in the 90s and I have always had a love for 90s fashions. The colors, patterns, and swag that went along with that decade will always be unmatched. I know I wanted to start a multi-purpose brand, I just needed a push in the right direction. Truthfully, I just got to the point where I was tired of clocking in and out of work. I no longer wanted to have to work for someone other than myself. 2020 was a year that we will never forget! Although we are still dealing with similarities in 2021, I vowed that I would work on myself and finally make my dream of building up 92Retro a reality!. Read more>>

Collin Brewer | Musician & Engineer

Graduating from engineering school with a load of student debt seemingly limited my options. I had started to develop my passion for music late in my college career, and I felt like the people around me had invested too much into my education for me to slow down and pursue something else. Starting my own side business gave me the freedom and stability to build and grow at my own pace. I could do my Monday through Friday thing and then record music all weekend. I was exhausted, but there was a part of my brain that was more charged up Monday morning than if I had relaxed all weekend. Being creative takes energy, but you get it back in so many ways, I think a lot of people are missing that in their lives. Read more>>

Emily Morehead, MA, LPC | Co-Owner of The Couch Therapy & Psychotherapist

My partner Monique Lee and I both wanted to create a therapy practice in Texas that offered a “come as you are approach”. We wanted our clients to be able to feel safe physically and emotionally in seeking therapy for what they needed exactly as they were regardless of sexual orientation, religion or presenting problem. The Couch Therapy serves all people with different backgrounds and needs without a one size fit’s all uniformed approach. We meet our clients exactly where they are emotionally and are able to help them develop individualized goals for what they hope to nurture. We are a Psychodynamic Attachment focused practice that wants to water the root of the problem not just the flower of it. Starting our own practice allowed us to create a practice that served a need we saw in our community. We are a team of passionate, female therapists who are highly trained and down to earth. Read more>>

Mario Scroggins | Caterer

As a hobby, I have always cooked and prepared food for friends or family. One day, I was asked by a former boss to cater a small home gathering and hesitantly, I said yes. There was no compensation other than the money for food. I was responsible for all of the food dishes as well as setting up and taking down. It was successful as the party guest raved about how great the food was. Furthermore, my former boss was amazed and impressed by my service and presentation. Upon the conclusion of the event and my return home, I literally cried because I had the epiphany that this hobby had morphed into an asset that could marketed and sold. With this, my thought process behind starting my business were to use my hobby as a vehicle to provide a great service with great tasting food and amazing presentation. I did not have the How’s and What’s but I later discovered that my WHY was two-fold. Read more>>

Claire Morales | Musician, Artist & Graphic Designer

I started my own business because I wanted to do more of the work I loved, I wanted to work from home, and I wanted to be able to tour with my band. Before I branched off on my own, I was working and commuting 50-60+ hours a week, and my life was getting consumed by work. I wasn’t passionate about the projects I was doing, and I felt like I had little time to do personal projects. Starting my business felt like the only option in a lot of ways, and it changed my life in a huge way. Read more>>

Missy Phipps | Co-Founder, President

When a group of my friends and I decided to start Ally’s Wish, our sole thought was to to something for young women that were going through the hardest time in their lives. We wanted to give them something to think about other than their terminal illness. And to give them memories for them and their children that doesn’t include the illness. Read more>>

Shay Dial Johnson & Tamara Correa Bohanon | Small Business Owners and Greek Vendors

We both are involved in the community through work and play. As members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. it’s ingrained in us to work collaboratively with others. We had the idea that we should start a paraphernalia line that speaks to that… Sisterhood through Service, no matter what organization you’re in. Read more>>

Dominic Roque-Stafford | Founder of LKC( Luxurious Kids Consignment)

My Finance and I had our first baby together in 2018, she had preeclampsia and had him at 27 weeks. Sebastian weighted 1 lb 14 oz. We lived at Cooks Children Hospital with his for 10 months of his life. When going through all of this, we really only had each other, a small few of people knew what we was going threw but not to our extent. My Fiancé is very big on taking pictures for any reason, which any parent in the NICU was excited about putting clothes on there baby, I am assuming we felt that we had normal babies when we did that. One day while we were in our room with Sebastian I thought about starting a Consignment store which we would sell and buy new and pre loved kids clothes. Since I love to shop and I have eight kids, I thought that would be great! We wanted to give back to Cooks Children Fort Worth for keeping our baby alive and also wanted to help parents that was in our same situation. Read more>>

Pranati Chandra | CEO, Neologic Marketing

• Neologic LLC – In 2015, I started an IT consulting company that evolved into a Digital Marketing company called Neologic Marketing. Back in my corporate days, I was very passionate about enabling small businesses and I wanted to think more outside my usual 9-5 job. I always wanted to collaborate more with other entrepreneurs and build a community of small businesses where they can afford the same technology to grow their businesses as big giant corporations do. So, I left cubicle life and started my journey to build the Digital Marketing Company. Read more>>

Mohammad Altawaha | Owner & Founder of Abu Omar Halal

I spent several years working in various restaurants around Houston before deciding to open my first food truck. It was good for me in many ways. I was able to learn the ins and outs of the business, refining my cooking skills and understanding the management role. I’m naturally a very creative person though and there’s only so much freedom you have when you are managing someone else’s establishment. I actually opened my first food truck while I was still working full time elsewhere. I quickly realized, however, that to make my business successful, I would need to fully commit to its success – meaning I would devote all of my time and energy to my efforts, and also be financially dependent upon its success. There’s really no substitute for that type of motivation. Now, I am fortunate to have multiple food truck and restaurant locations. The upside to owning your own business is obviously the freedom. If I want to create something new for my menus, I have the ability to do so. Read more>>

Jennifer McCauley | Doctor of Physical Therapy & Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist

I always knew that I wanted to start my own business. The vision of Inspire Physical Therapy and Wellness has been with me for 15 years and is one of the reasons I pursued my doctoral degree in physical therapy. I wanted to provide a place for healing that was patient-centered, treated the whole person, and utilized movement as medicine. I spent the first 10 years of my career working in California specializing in movement science, pilates-based physical therapy, and orthopedic and pelvic health rehabilitation. Although I loved California, I knew it wasn’t the place I wanted to start my practice nor raise my family. I am originally from Texas and when the opportunity came to go back, my husband and I seized the opportunity. When I relocated to Texas four years ago, I noticed that many of the PT practices in the area were run as “patient mills”. They treated 3-4 patients an hour and only provided minimal time with the physical therapist. These therapists were also limited in what they could do as they worked under the insurance model. Read more>>

Kenneth Sikes | Rap Artist and Buisnesses Owner

It actually started back when I was in high school. I used to day dream and play out my life in my head like a movie. I would day dream of me starting my own label and being a popular rapper out my city with my own squad. I went from day dreaming to actually believing to actually being a business owner. Read more>>

Allie Harrelson Smith | Artist & Teacher

When I was little, my grandparents watched me after pre-school while my parents were still at work. My grandma had a room filled with natural light where she sat and painted beautiful pictures using watercolors. I was always mesmerized with her natural talent and love for her hobby. Fast forward many years later and I needed a hobby to keep my anxiety at ease during the start of the COVID-19 quarantine in the summer of 2020. I went online and bought canvas paper, permanent markers, brushes, and a watercolor set. I started painting flowers and adding detail with a permanent marker. Then life went somewhat back to normal for me that fall and I did not keep up with my hobby because I was so busy. Months passed and I started painting again when my anxiety reached an all time high at the start of 2021. Using the same techniques of florals and additional detail, I started creating pieces for friends to help improve my mental health and make others smile. Read more>>

Chris Townsend | Founding Owner of Bearded Brothers Roofing & Restoration

For the first decade of my career I worked for others. However, entering the restoration construction industry, I realized that a pattern was arising. I would come in as a consultant, start to build someone else’s company, and then they would start making decisions which interrupted our progress. I also saw that in the completely deregulated Texas environment, the room for industry revolution was limitless. As a reformer, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to build something truly revolutionary. Read more>>

Jonathan Garcia & Laura Davis Jonathan Garcia & Laura Davis | Professional Photographer & Videographers

My thought process was that I didn’t want to work anymore dead end jobs that I was barely scrapping by with and I wanted to give this a try. I thought that you know even if I failed at least I tried. Laura: Well, after I lost my job with a company I had worked for basically my entire working life, I was a little lost. Jon and I had been taking photos all over the place for a while and he approached me with his idea to start our own business and I was a little nervous but I decided that there really was no better time and why not take a chance on myself for once. Read more>>

CeeCee Evans | Founder & Executive Director

I founded Mission Bridges, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit, in 2015 to help individuals who have a desire to start a business but lack the resources and education needed to get started. Starting a new business can be a challenge. Would-be entrepreneurs may face a number of hurdles, including lack of access to capital, insufficient business networks for peer support, investment, and business opportunities, and the absence of the full range of essential skills necessary to lead a business to survive and grow. There is reason to think that racial and ethnic minorities and women are particularly likely to face such hurdles. For instance, minority- and women headed households generally have lower levels of household wealth, which in turn can make internal investment and external borrowing more difficult. Other barriers that may reduce rates of business formation among minorities include lower average credit scores and educational attainment. Read more>>

Noelle Pratt | Women’s Empowerment

I personally love to motivate and encourage people to be their best, and I love the idea of women supporting women. When Covid-19 hit, everybody was thrown off guard, many lost loved ones and many lost their job. There was a lot of fear and negativity in the air, and I wanted to bring a light to a dark time. I wanted to design something where I can post daily motivations, feature small women-owned business’, little pick me ups, and more. I wanted to make a place for women to connect, build friendships, and help each other. I ultimately wanted to produce a positive escape for women around the world. So, I created and published 4 Da Girlz. Read more>>

Jenny James | Owner & Piano Teacher, Legacy Music Studio

Legacy Music Studio evolved after twenty years spent working in education and music. My first career was as an elementary classroom teacher with years teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. After becoming a mom, I transitioned into teaching private piano lessons out of my home. And while I loved teaching piano one on one, I missed the energy, cooperative learning, and laughter that came from being around lots of students. Over time I actually found myself lonely, bored, and uninspired. But I also had birthed a dream during that time. I wanted a place where individual creative teachers could teach private music lessons in a shared space. This concept was based on the idea of mixing a classroom experience with private teaching areas- where all the teachers know all the students, and the students interact and learn from each other. We engage all learning styles and adapt all lessons to fit the individual student while still maintaining a high standard of music education. Read more>>

Victor & Jealena Jackson | Artists

We wanted to do something that made us happy. We wanted to not have to wake up and go to “work” and to be able to grow something for our children. Read more>>

Chris D. Bentley | Broker/Owner

I’m an entrepreneur at heart. In fact, I hate working a job. The thought of someone telling me what to do and what time I must do it is horrifying to me. It’s probably why I was so terrible at school. School and having a job only fueled me more to start my own company later in life. One rule I have at my brokerage is, “Do not call me your Boss!” I honestly wasn’t excited about becoming a Broker and having to deal with the headaches involved with the day-to-day operations of running a successful business along with my own clientele. People tend to forget that, as a business owner, there is no one to blame when something goes wrong or if one of your Agents screws up because at the end of the day, it’s all on you. As the leader of the company, you must, “Steer the ship” as they say. You must make decisions that not only impact you but also everyone else at the company. It’s a daily grind of navigating through these decisions to make sure you’re putting everyone in the best position possible to succeed while making sure the company stays the course. Read more>>

Kate Graves | Private Chef

My thought process behind starting my business was there was not enough Chefs like me in my community that enjoyed cuisines from all over the world. I wanted to share my talents and cooking style with people who loved food just as much as I do. I came up with the idea to open up a Bakery and Bistro where people can enjoy good comfort foods “to go”. When the Coronavirus 2020 pandemic took us by storm, people were playing it safe when it came to eating at dine-in restaurants. Kakes2Go, Bakery and Bistro, LLC., was re-branded due to the pandemic that caused a lot of small businesses and black-owned businesses such as myself, to shut down completely. The world was forced to go into social-distancing and quarantine mode which crushed the restaurant businesses all together. Once the world re-opened, I had to think fast on how my customers could still enjoy my delicious meals without any person-to person contact, And that is when I came up with, “Contactless-Dining”. Read more>>

Rachana Cherry | Cake Designer & Decorator

It started with my son’s 5th birthday. He wanted a “special” angry birds themed cake. Being a crafty mom, I decided to try my hand at a functional angry birds’ cake. While it was a stretch of my imagination, the results were impressive. Not only was there an angry birds’ cake, there were also fondant angry birds to be used in slingshots, pigs, and other game pieces. The entire set-up was edible, making it a complete angry birds’ experience. The kids had a wonderful time launching the birds from the slingshot. While my son enjoyed his “something special”, family and friends were in awe of my creation. This led to me receiving orders from family and friends, and then friends of friends, and thus, Edible Perfections was born. What started as a hobby to impress my kids, is now a growing business, with my edible creations being shipped across the globe. Read more>>

Nia Fortr | Nia’s Cosmetics

I initially started doing makeup mid April. So during COVID-19, I didn’t have much to do, so I started thinking of ways to make more money! I ran across some makeup ad, then started thinking about making my own lipgloss! After selling lipgloss, a lot of my customers were asking for more products. So I started researching for vendors to expand my brand. Now I have glosses, eyeshadow palettes, lip liners, lashes, etc. I’m also going to be dropping my men’s line soon. Read more>>

Bds Dede | Rapper & Songwriter

My thoughts are tough because dealing with family , work , being a student . It’s kind of difficult but everything is going slow but it’s a moving process. Read more>>