Black women businesss owners are on the rise and transforming the face of minority entrepreneurship. According to a recent study, as of 2008 49.9% of all African-American firms were owned by women. In that same study, firms owned by African-American women represented 9% of of all privately-held, majority owned women-owned firms in the U.S. These numbers don’t even account for current business owners and the vast amount of growth in the part-time entrepreneur sector for women. The bottom line is that Black women are making moves and I was fortunate enough to catch up with 11 busy entrepreneurs in order to share their stories.
Each of these women are unique and dynamic in their own way and have contributed viable resources to society as well as within their own communities. Some are fairly new to the game while others have been at it for quite some time. As you read their profiles you will see that their accomplishments serve as rich sources of inspiration for all women, a true testament that dreams and aspirations can be achieved through commitment, drive, and dedication. Also, please keep in mind that when you support black businesses you are contributing to the growth, strength, and wealth of a culture as well as the black community.
Angela P. Moore- President & CEO, APM Public Relations
Founded in 1997, APM is an Atlanta-based full service Public Relations and Communications agency that provides entertainment publicity, communications, and media relations for its national clients’ media and public relations needs.
APM’s client roster is inclusive of Judge L.T. Simes II (Circuit Court Judge), Actor Keith Allen Hayes (“The Blind Side”, “Big Momma’s House III”, “Why Did I Get Married Too?”, and “Divine Grind”), Jazz & Gospel Singer Lisa McGlown, Jazz Saxophonist Antoine Knight, and a whole host of others.
Angela was inspired to form APM because she envisioned placing people, places and products into the spotlight. She paired her communications background with her desire to help people, and as a result, APM Public Relations has established itself as a premiere public relations firm. She also owns The Inkwell Agency, a professional writing company. Angela’s passion for writing has led her to write for numerous local and national publications to include Essence, Black Enterprise, Cuisine Noir, J’Adore, Upscale and many others.
Angela’s outlook for the New Year is to complete her Masters degree in English, and she is currently penning her first book, which is due out in the spring.
Da-Nel Euwings- CEO/Founder of Women Still Standing
A non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, PA, Women Still Standing is a loving collective of women of color who have overcome negative obstacles and have decided to take the necessary steps to live positive, productive, and prosperous lives. The organization hosts professional and informative workshops, networking events, excursions, and fundraisers.
Da-Nel was inspired to create this organization because of her deep empathy for women and having first-hand experience in many of the issues preventing women of color from uniting and thriving. It is Da-Nel’s passion to help women who want to help themselves by providing occasions for what all women need to thrive; love, respect, knowledge, dignity, education, purpose and support.
Da-Nel’s outlook for the new year is very positive and satisfying as plenty of room to blossom even further – on behalf of the people she serves. Da-Nel is also working on her first book, to be released in early Spring.
Deborah Blagrove- CEO/Founder, Naturally Golden
The mission of the company is simple- to provide adults and their children with quality products that are equally eco-friendly for the earth as well as for the body. Naturally Golden provides all-natural, organic, raw(virgin) bio-degrade-able personal care products. The company uses nature’s gift as personal care solutions. All products are free from chemicals, artificial preservatives, animal-fat fillers, parabens, and has never been tested on animal life.
Deborah’s inspiration for forming Naturally Golden mainly stems from wanting flexibility and creating her own destiny. Her children also serve as a major source of inspiration due to the fact that business ownership allows Deborah more time with them in order to better serve as their role model along with role-modeling for a host of other youths.
Deborah’s professional outlook for the New Year is to strategically approach several areas inclusive of raising more awareness of the dangers in other personal care products, and expansion into new cities. Deborah’s personal outlook is to continue self-evaluation while growing and learning in all aspects of her life.
Keisha A. Rivers-Shorty- CEO/Founder, The KARS Consulting Group, LTD
“Give a man a fish, he eats for a day (if he can cook). Teach a man to fish (give him some recipes & spices) and he eats for a lifetime (and well).” The KARS Consulting Group, LTD specializes in helping small businesses and organizations both look good and sound good through the “Art, Science and Psychology of Communication”–both style and substance. The company provides information to clients while giving them the tools and teaching them the skills they need to put the information to good use and turn it into active knowledge.
Keisha’s journey into entrepreneurship happened quite by accident—she became fed up one day with not being appreciated and taken for granted so she quit her job. So in the course of entertaining offers from several other companies–both of which would have required her to relocate–her husband suggested she start her own company and consult with both potential employers. Both companies loved the idea and the rest is a still-to-be-written history.
Keisha’s outlook for the New Year is positive. She has an upcoming book to be published in Spring 2011. Her company has partnered with the Creative Group, LLC in order to conduct a community leaders collaborative as part of their Youth Empowerment Retreat in April. She is also looking into expansion opportunities for KARS as well.
The mission of Changed Living is to help every individual reach a more evolved inner perspective through divine (God) power. Using a combination of personal experience, scripture, and Godly wisdom, LaNicia constantly seeks to help others understand that not only will God lead you to the promise land; God will also lead you through the wilderness.
LaNicia also hosts I Am Eve – Growing In God Women’s Ministry to minister to hearts of women. I am Eve hosts a weekly prayer conference call and a bi-weekly interactive bible study.
LaNicia ran from her calling until she ran to her calling. As a third generation “preacher’s kid,” LaNicia decided at an early age that she would not follow in the footsteps of her mother, aunt, uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents. One day, LaNicia realized that running from God was only making her life miserable, so she decided to run to God. Since then, LaNicia has embraced her call from God to encourage and uplift others. In the fall of 2009, she decided to move away from corporate America, so that she could concentrate fully on the work God had purposed for her before she even breathed her first breath.
LaNicia’s outlook for the New Year is the pending completion of her first book for publication titled, “Believing You Have The Power.”
Lisa Denise Jackson- Founder, The Professional Green Network
The Professional Green Network (PGN) is an international organization designed to assist consumers, consultants, and business owners in beginning or expanding their green knowledge, business, and operations. The organization is dedicated to providing education, information, and certifications regarding green awareness, cleaning, living, sustainabiliity, and working environments.
L. Denise was inspired to become a business owner/entrepreneur by her desire for constant mental stimulation, challenge, and change. She also enjoys helping companies reach their goals they would not otherwise be able to and provide quality products and services that help shape their future.
L. Denise’s professional and personal outlooks for the New Year include having a more stringent health and business regimen to assist with her new clients to launch or improve their business and to increase her charity and philanthropic efforts. This year she is launching her Sustainable Business Boot Camp in late April; and Sustainable Business Platinum Program for Busy CEOs, Entrepreneurs, Leaders, and Professionals in October; as well as releasing her first three volumes in the Sustainable CEO Series – Elements of Success.
Michelle Person- Owner, Events with PERSONality by Michelle
At Events with PERSONality by Michelle, the goal is to provide the event that clients have always dreamed of-one that reflects their unique personality and style. This is a new up and coming business that is committed to quality service and value.
The company caters to events of any size, and can assist with all celebratory needs in MD, DC, VA and NC. However, they offer flexibility in providing services anywhere clients prefer within a certain radius.
Michelle’s creative side along with her attention to detail, her personality and the will to bring happiness and good times to all, has brought to fruition a long time GOD given vision of “Events with PERSONality by Michelle”. Once Michelle leaves Corporate America, this will be her full time mission.
Michelle’s outlook for the New Year is to better establish the brand for Events with PERSONality by Michelle. The company is constantly adding to their vendor list in order to increase their territories.
Nikima Frenche- Spa Director & Owner of Le Chateau de Frenche Day Spa & Private Tea Room
An “oasis” in Brooklyn, NY, Le Chateau de Frenche is truly a place where you can relax and unwind, with your needs always coming first. The spa offers one on one service and treatments customized to fit your needs. Each product and service is chosen carefully-facials, body treatments, massages, waxing, manicures, pedicures as well as other beauty enhancements. And the unique added touch- a High Tea Service where you can relax and enjoy a wonderful selection of fine loose teas, scones, assorted cookies, and tea sandwiches.
Nikima’s love for skin care began in her native Trinidad, with her having always had an interest in taking care of skin. Nikima always wanted a place where people would be taken care of, while relaxing at a beautiful table spending time with family and friends. Nikima also has a love for her community, where she regularly invites the neighborhood children in for free and provides them with brief lessons on social skills.
Nikima’s outlook for the New Year is to move forward with plans to franchise her business and bring exclusivity to the Le Chateau experience by creating a member-based initiative, all while continuing to remain a leader within her community as well as in the spa industry.
Raq’uel- President/Founder, RAQ ON, RAQ OUT, LLC
RAQ ON, RAQ OUT is a branding entity, a movement based upon the ability to infinitely inspire, motivate, perservere, support, uphold, and uplift ourselves and one another towards greatness for a better society and more peaceful world.
After witnessing and experiencing the current tragedies survived by so many, Raq’uel, a Northern NJ native and graduate of MSU found solace by inspiring all with her often used phrase “RAQ ON, RAQ OUT!” It caught on amongst family, friends and colleagues in an extremely positive manner and as a result, the term “RAQ ON, RAQ OUT!” was coined and the company officially began. The company’s website shop carries 100% cotton tees, 100% organic cotton totes, car magnets, and ceramic mugs bearing the RAQ ON, RAQ OUT logo in support of the company’s mission and philosophy.
In addition to the RAQ ON, RAQ OUT branding entity, a mentoring program is currently being put together and has an expected launch date of mid 2011.
Ronda Yates- CEO/Founder, Sunshine Creations 4 U
Located in the Brooklyn, NY area, Sunshine Creations 4 U is a Certified Decorating/Event Planning business that specializes in Balloon Arches, Birthday Parties, Sweet Sixteens, Anniversary Parties, Bridal and Baby Showers, Weddings, Wedding Receptions and more. The company was designed for those who don’t have the extra time, patience or the added creativity to plan that “Special Event.”
Decorating parties has been a passion of Ronda’s since she was a teenager. She used to decorate for family and friends as a hobby and loved it. Ronda loves her creations and also loves seeing the joy and appreciation on clients’ faces when they walk into their event witnessing the creativity before them. Ronda chose the name Sunshine Creations 4 U because she always considered herself as a bright and bubbly person. She loves the sunshine and her decorations are her own creations. The 4 U parts were added because everything Ronda does is for her clients.
Ronda’s future goal is to take her Decorating/Event Planning business to the next level by introducing Sunshine Creations 4 U to the entertainment world.
Dr. Tekemia Dorsey- President/CEO, The Creative Group, LLC
The Creative GRP, LLC’s mission is to provide world class research lifecycle support services, publishing services, education services, leadership training & education services and radio services for the public/private sectors. The Creative GRP., LLC has a Consulting Division, Publishing Division, Education Division, Radio Division, & a Leadership Training & Education Division. The Creative GRP., LLC also provides grant writing services, curriculum development services, etc. The Creative Group Community Outreach Programs (Non-Profit) mission is to simply provide educational and training support services and programs for youth, parents, the community, and the school system.
Dr. Dorsey’s inspiration evolved from the single-mindedness of the education system. When pushed to choose between completing her doctoral program or extended it by a year (due to the review of the school system), she prayed, cried, mediated, reasoned, discussed, and finally decided to leave the system in 2005. After months of unemployment and completing the final two semesters in her doctoral program, Dr. Dorsey’s great attention to detail helped her to assist several other classmates complete their doctoral degree. Hence, a consulting company was birthed.
Dr. Dorsey’s outlook for the New Year includes prosperity, transition, and being transformational. 2010 was a year of transition from the old to the new with the breakthrough of greater ventures.