Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice.  We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Jamaal Benison | Visual Artist

My thought process behind starting my own business was really about empowerment and utilizing my God given talent. Once I discovered what I was passionate about it went from expensive hobby to getting paid for content projects. I also wanted to see what it was like to put value on my work versus someone else putting value on my work. Those are some of the initial thought processes I had in wanting to start my own business. Read more>>

Ty Nicholson | Videographer & Photographer

From the start it didn’t seem as if I was starting my own business. I was just doing something I loved to do which is film and photography. Once I started to enhance my skills business really came to me and took off from there. When I realized my brand would be a very intricate part in producing for big clients I realized I had to do some business planning like create my website, logo, pricing, and finding clients that would work with my brand. Read more>>

Kimberly Borges and Miriam McDonald Borges and McDonald | PWR WMN Founders

PWR WMN was born out of the constant frustration we felt when searching for a women’s blazer that not only represented us, but served our needs as modern businesswomen. Our own need and desire for this led us to create our own version of women’s blazers with outside and inside pockets for function, and a unique style that represents us in the ways we want to be seen. We have entrepreneurship in our blood. Both of our families are entrepreneurial and have set an amazing example for us. Once we knew that the blazers we made would not only be a great asset to us, but to other women around us, we knew we had to jump in and get started. Miriam and I are both very passionate people. When we say yes, we mean YES. And when we decided to start PWR WMN, that meant fully investing ourselves and our own savings into it. We believe in this so much, we have no doubt our sacrifices and big risks will pay off. Read more>>

Alex J. Martin | CEO

I always wanted to start a business. In fifth grade, I used to cut grass and sell drawings that I traced of cartoon characters to classmates. In high school, I worked two jobs. So I always like working. Over time my passion for working grew and I realized earlier this year that I like freedom as well. Financial freedom as well as independently creating something from scratch. Read more>>

Krista Harper | Baker

I have always loved baking and when my husband was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic at the age of 44, he could no longer eat the things I baked. I took his diabetes on as a challenge to find a way to bake sweet treats that tasted good, but would not raise his blood sugar levels, hence the name “In Range Sweets”, or require him to take large amounts of insulin. The more successful I became with my low carb sugar free baking, and trust me, it was a process, (many things went right into the trash after the first taste) I began sharing with family and friends, often not telling them it was sugar free until after they had tried it. My husband and others began encouraging me to try selling my items with people looking for sugar free, low carb or gluten free items. So, last year, I took a leap and made my first post on instagram. Read more>>

Rasheda Thomas | Certified Behavioral Health Life Coach

The thought process behind me starting my own Life Coaching business. One day I was speaking with a woman who was having some challenging times with her 12-year-old daughter. The women began to explain how her daughter was being bullied by other classmates in school. Seeing that I have a daughter who was also facing that same situation in school. The mom and I spoke for an hour and we decided to exchanged phone numbers. I was able to provide some type of relief and coaching advice to the mom. The mom called me a month later and told me how she really appreciated the guidance I had gave to her and the daughter. At that time, I realized there are many children who are facing different challenges of life. Later that day I went home and begin working towards a plan to inspiring other kids. Read more>>

Tony Trammell | Professor

I wanted to start a gym that was a place I would want to train. I wanted a positive training environment that created great competitors. Read more>>

Rika Banks | Life coach, Author & Speaker

I wanted to help other women overcome childhood traumas, pain, abandonment and domestic violence. I knew that if i could change my life that others could as well and live royally. Read more>>

Keri Larris | Food Scientist & Founder

Experiencing chemical burns and hair loss from a relaxer touch up a few years ago, I was determined to grow my hair naturally without any products containing harsh chemicals. My journey was a little frustrating due to the lack of natural beauty products for women of color on the market. I took on the arduous task of learning about herbs and natural products for skin and hair. My research gave me the knowledge I needed to make my own products and I started making products for my family and friends to try. After wondrous results, my family encouraged me to share my products with the world after seeing their hair’s healthiness and growth. And that is how Seeli Naturals was born. Read more>>