The Black Lives Matter movement and current global protests advocating for racial justice and equality have generated a groundswell of support for Black-owned businesses. The 2012 US Census Report revealed 2.6 million Black or African-American owned businesses in America, up 35% from 2007. You may have heard of many larger companies that fit the bill, but what about small to medium-sized businesses? Today in honor of Juneteenth and going forward, you can vote with your dollars by giving your support to these 15 companies with Black founders and owners. They offer everything from software infrastructure to book publishing to PR services, to natural skincare products and cars that help out single moms.
During this time of a rising mental health crisis, Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey have created a preventative, low-cost, technology-driven solution deriving from peer-based support. Their app, Shine, offers mental health support through messaging technology. Both young women of color, these cofounders & co-CEOs don’t come from typical entrepreneurial backgrounds, yet already they’ve made an impact, having been named two of 35 people to watch in the NYC tech scene. With young people today struggling with the Coronavius pandemic, lack of job opportunities, the economic downturn and racial injustice, not to mention the usual life stresses such as breakups, toxic bosses, and fears about the future, they generally must turn to generic websites or pricey options like coaching and therapy. Shine is an affordable and effective alternative. “It talks to you like a friend who understands the highs and lows of everyday life,” Hirabayashi and Lidey say.
Everett Harper is the CEO of Truss, a software infrastructure consulting firm that solves complex engineering problems in the public interest. Harper founded Truss in 2011 at Women 2.0’s Founder Lab accelerator, and then Mark Ferlatte and Jen Leech joined as his cofounders in 2012. The company initially produced a calendar app called Leave Now, but Truss really took off after joining the elite engineering team that saved Healthcare.gov. Because of their work, 18 million people (and counting) have health insurance. From there, Truss branched out into two main fields of work: helping large corporations and government agencies transform their legacy IT into modern development and engineering operations; and helping fast-growing, mid-size startups build scalable and repeatable engineering teams via automation, development and process redesign.
· myWHY Agency
Emerald-Jane Hunter is the founder and CEO of myWHY, a Chicago-based marketing agency in the health and wellness space. A four-time Emmy Award-winning producer, Hunter is a master of storytelling and content creation. She has over 15 years of experience in TV, and has worked in reality TV, live events, showrunnning, and talent booking. Now with her own PR and marketing agency, she has found her life purpose. MyWHY works with Riverside Natural Foods and has helped grow snack brand MadeGood significantly in North America. They also represent Wonder Drink Prebiotic Kombucha, GOODTO GO snack bars, Healthy Crunch, AYO Foods, and SUKU Vitamins. The company manages PR, influencer campaigns, social media pages, and content creation.
· Goldest Karat Publishing
Crystal Swain-Bates is a bestselling author from Atlanta intent on filling the diversity gap in children’s literature. A former CIA employee, she began writing children’s books, including Big Hair, Don’t Care, for black and brown kids in order to boost their self-esteem and celebrate the beauty in their differences. She chose self-publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) over traditional publishing because she wanted to retain greater creative control. She has since published more than a dozen of her own books, reaching sales of 100,000-plus on Amazon. Entrepreneurially minded, Swain-Bates then took her success in writing to the next level by starting her own publishing company, Goldest Karat Publishing. Here, she sells not only her books but also merchandise, including kids’ party supplies based on characters she has created. In addition, the publishing company helps aspiring and underrepresented authors publish their books and share their stories.
PTG365 is an automotive company that harnesses revenue earned by selling and leasing luxury cars to clients including NBA and music industry stars to help single mothers and low-income families get safe, affordable vehicles and build their credit scores. Through their financial advising and credit repair services, the company also assists clients in securing cheaper insurance. Since its founding in late 2017, PTG365 has expanded from three people working in one city to over 50 employees across four US cities and has garnered gross revenues in excess of $5 million. The founders, Dave Obaseki, Brandon Medford and Eric Whitehead, credit their success to getting celebrity endorsements and investing 80% of revenues back into the business. Prior to Coronavirus, they projected revenues hitting $15 million by the end of 2020. Twenty percent of this money they dedicate to social good.
· The Tulsa Real Estate Fund (TREF)
The Tulsa Real Estate Fund (TREF) was created to help individuals in low-income neighborhoods combat gentrification through making real estate investments at as low as $500. Ernestine Johnson and Johnetta G. Paye, Esq. both play an instrumental role at TREF, which is the first ever Black-owned real estate crowdfunding platform. Johnson is the cofounder and chief communications officer, and Paye acts as lead counsel and VP of business affairs. “The goal of the Tulsa Real Estate Fund, which I cofounded with my husband, is to spread a message of financial empowerment and financial literacy in underserved and working-class communities,” says Johnson.
· Happy Ice
Happy Ice is a Los Angeles-based business that sells premium water ice, a slushie/sorbet-like treat that’s a Philadelphia classic. The new store opens on Melrose Ave on June 20, 2020. Happy Ice was founded by 28-year-old Lemeir Mitchell, who moved to LA after his father was sentenced to life in prison and his brother passed away in a motorcycle accident. It first opened as a food truck and has since gained a cult following of celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Post Malone and Ellen. In 2018, Ted Foxman invested close to $1 million into the brand. Happy Ice is currently offering limited-edition flavors of “black ice,” with proceeds donated to an organization that supports the Black Lives Matter movement.
· 2050 Wealth Partners
Rianka Dorsainvil is on a mission to make financial planning accessible to Millennials. Her fee-for-service only company, Your Greatest Contribution (YGC), helped young thriving professionals get their financial households in order. Recently, Dorsainvil partnered with another women of color, Lazetta Rainey Braxton, to form 2050 Wealth Partners, a fully virtual financial planning firm. Dorsainvil’s writing and work has been featured in Black Enterprise, CNBC, Financial Advisor, US News & World Report, Women’s Health, and many other publications. Advocating for financial literacy and helping people of her generation to achieve their financial goals is, Dorsainvil says, her life purpose. “Traditional financial planning firms do not take on clients with little to no investable assets, leaving a wealth of thriving young professionals in need,” she explains. “I am able to impact young people today, and that’s going to have a ripple effect for the rest of their lives.”
· Brow Boost
Starting in elementary school and continuing on through middle school, Tania Speaks was bullied for having bushy, unruly eyebrows. Fed up with the abuse, she tried to cut off her eyebrows one day after school. She ended up cutting herself and bleeding badly. In order to grow her eyebrows back, she began researching various natural, organic ingredients, and experimented with them until she created a gel that enabled her eyebrow hair to fill in and lay down smoothly. Soon, she decided to turn her discovery into a business. She launched the highly successful company Brow Boost in 2016 while still a high school student. A year later, she introduced a men’s line of organic hair growth products called Beard Boost. Her business grew by 60% in the first five months, quickly establishing Speaks as a proven teenaged entrepreneur.
· The Tot Tote
Loria Oliver is the cofounder, with her husband Kent Oliver, of Turtle Place Brands. They started the business after giving birth to two children in two consecutive years. Their mission is to develop products that make family’s lives easier by helping them get more organized. The company’s first project, The Tot Tote, is a multi-functional tote bag that can be hung in the car as a backseat organizer, worn as a backpack by even young kids, or carried as a tote bag. “Our philosophy is that whether your journey is short or long, especially with children, it goes a lot smoother when its organized,” Oliver says.
· Lulu’s Holistics
Deannee Santiago and Jahnet Frederick are a mother-daughter duo who have generated over a million dollars in sales since launching their natural skincare line, Lulu’s Holistics, two years ago. A vegan and believer in the power of holistic healing, Frederick enjoyed making shea butter products in her living room. After watching this for years, Santiago decided to turn her mother’s talent into a business. With two younger sisters who are autistic, Santiago also felt driven to increase awareness of autism. She therefore dedicates a percentage of profits to sponsoring a school that works with autistic children in the Caribbean. Lulu’s Holistics crafts each product from scratch and by hand, out of safe, organic ingredients with no additives or chemicals.
· Wright Productions
Mena, Iyana and Shantee Wright are sisters who together own and operate Wright Productions, a high-end event production, event design and brand management firm headquartered in Los Angeles. Their clients have included Floyd Mayweather, the Serena and Venus Williams Fund, Ty Dolla $ign, Kelly Rowland, MC Lyte, BMW, and many more. In addition to planning large-scale events such as experiential activations, conferences, weddings and birthday parties, their company also consults with small to mid-size businesses and brands on growth strategies. “We’ve always been best friends and a support system for one another,” says Iyana Wright, the COO and middle sister. “I love the idea of inspiring others to do the same: Start from nothing and build something together with your family or close friends.”
· Ellae Lisque
Maxie James is a fashion designer to the stars, including Blac Chyna, Letoya Luckett, Erica Mena and India Love. She is also a boutique owner. Her clothing line, Ellae Lisque, has appeared in New York Fashion Week. Style House by MJ, her clothing store, is one of the only Black-owned businesses on LA’s swanky Melrose Ave. “I am confident when it comes to fashion,” says the entirely self-made and self-taught business woman. “I don’t care if I’m up against someone famous. I never feel intimidated in this domain.”
· Mayhem Entertainment PR
Claudia Greene is the founder and CEO of Mayhem Entertainment PR, an agency that represents talent including singer-songwriter Dawn Richards, actress Tara Reid, Jennifer Williams, and actor Ian Verdun. Her story begins in a very different place, however. Greene’s family escaped Sierra Leone in the 1990s, when she was a little girl and civil war broke out in the country. By the time she was seven years old, they had resettled in Minnesota, with the hope of safety and dreams of a better future. Despite English being her second language, Greene graduated at the top of her class from University of Miami with a double degree in film and communications. She then moved to LA to pursue a master’s degree in writing and producing for television at Loyola Marymount University. After working in TV, she moved to a career in PR and after a few years opened her own shop.
· Ayers Publicity
For a few months in early 2016, Kiki Ayers was homeless. The first-generation college graduate decided to take charge of her destiny, launching her own PR business from the bathroom of the hotel lobby where she was sleeping at the time. Six months later and without a support team, she had built Ayers Publicity into a six-figure company. Two years later, Ayers has done events for Russell Simmons, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Jamie Foxx, while her client list includes Haha Davis and Robert Riley. Ayers herself has appeared on the cover of The Connect Magazine and been featured in Black Enterprise, The Source, Life of Currency and The Huffington Post.
Housing grant from TD bank aimed to help families displaced by pandemic
GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A quarter-million dollars is on the way to help give families across the Greenville area the assistance they need to get back on their feet.
On Thursday, the Greenville Housing Fund received a $250-thousand dollar grant from TD Bank, which will go towards the “Home Again Partnership” — a joint venture between the Greenville Housing Fund and United Housing Connections.
Both organizations work to put displaced families back in stable housing.
“It’s impacting livelihoods, jobs, income, health,” President and CEO of the Greenville Housing Fund, Bryan Brown said. “It’s having significant and serious impacts on our community and this is a symptom of that.”
Brown said prior to the pandemic, they were aware of two hotel/motel communities where families were living, now there’s ten.
“That’s the impact that COVID has had on this community,” Brown said. “This growing insecurity, housing instability has led to families living in ten hotel motels in our community. “
The “Home Again Partnership” works to identify families with school aged children living in hotels to provide them with resources like housing and financial assistance, all aimed promoting self sufficiency.
“When you have families in hotels, you have a child doing homework off the edge of a bed and then eating off a hot plate, that’s not a family environment,” said CEO of United Housing Connections, Lorain Crowl.
Crowl said the first step is connecting students with a McKinney-Vento liaison.
“Which is a liaison that works in all Greenville County schools,” Crowl said. “Every school has one that is tasked with engaging homeless and families who are experiencing homelessness with children.”
And then the work begins.
“We start with the very basics,” Crowl said. “‘Where are you now?’ And then we carry you through with rent stabilization. That means we may come alongside you with some grant money.”
Or other resources like case management, credit repair, etc.
“We carry folks through a program, through a two-year program to help them develop a savings account, tools to be on their own and eventually they’re in their own housing,” said Crowl.
Both organizations say they have resources readily available.
“There are all kinds of programs and networks that we can really plug families into and then help them along to get to know those folks and be sure that they’re served,” said Crowl.
If you’re a Greenville family in need of assistance, Crowl said to contact your school counselor. Every school counselor in Greenville County is connected to a liaison who can connect you to the partnership.
Crowl said since the pandemic began, the partnership has served 375 households, with $2.1 million dollars put into the community from all resources to help families remain stabily housed.
From Real Estate To Financial Freedom Courses, Melik Monal Is A Businessman Who Has Really Done It All
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / March 4, 2021 / Many people in the business world started with a big leg up on life. They had parents in the business world or were well off enough to try different things before they found their stride and were able to succeed. Not Melik Monal. He had very few role models in life that he could base his business off of. Instead, he followed his own desires to become successful.
“What if you were born in poverty? And a Wealthy mindset was nonexistent not because you didn’t want it but because Financial literacy wasn’t taught Growing up. My name is Melik Monal ( Mr. blueberry) himself with a unique story on how I went from picking blueberries to running several multimillion-dollar companies. Growing up, I had no role model to emulate from a business perspective. I wanted to become successful, and the only way to do so was to become a professional athlete or business owner. Ownership is the key to success. Watching my parents struggle to provide for our family was enough motivation,” Melik recounts.
Melik’s journey into business was not an easy one. He faced many challenges when beginning his first steps, including the loss of his parents. However, this never deterred him from continuing on.
“My biggest obstacle I have had to overcome was losing my parents, but that has only made me stronger and wiser and more determined to be great. Despite this, entrepreneurship has always been a passion of mine. I aspire to help others become financially free, and being of service to other people is definitely the new wave,” Melik explains.
Now, Melik runs not only one business but multiple businesses. From real estate to author, Melik really does do it all. He has been working hard to pursue his interests and create businesses to help others while gaining financial freedom.
“I run a real estate investor business, Financial freedom Hacks course, a do-it-yourself credit repair ebook, and am author of the Financial Freedom book. In addition, I run A chain of financial institutions: Easy and Direct tax, Tax max professionals, Platinum tax pros, Supreme tax pros, and Texas tax pros,” Melik says.
After being so successful, Melik has some advice to those who wish to start their own businesses. Amongst the most important things, Melik says that mindset is crucial when beginning a business.
“Mindset is the key to becoming successful and starting your business. Without the right mindset, you’re setting yourself up for failure. In addition, commit – Becoming successful starts with your mindset, with the belief that you really can accumulate wealth. Assets and liabilities – know the difference, increase your income and reduce your expenses. Live Below Your Means – stay broke, save to invest, don’t save to save,” Melik advises.
Melik has no plans on slowing down now. In fact, he has many plans for the future as 2021 begins. He is growing his businesses and doing much more.
“My plans for 2021 are creating the financial freedom Hacks course. I’ll be teaching: how to invest in real estate, how to build business and personal credit, how to build a seven-figure tax office, how to build a successful e-commerce store, and how to build a seven-figure restaurant,” Melik states.
About VIP Media Group:
VIP Media Group is a hybrid PR agency. Their diverse client base includes top-class entrepreneurs, public figures, influencers, and celebrities.
SOURCE: Monal Capital
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Angela Marie Kovacs Educates Clients on Smart Money Habits for Better Living
VAN BUREN TWP, MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES, March 4, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Angela Marie Kovacs, an experienced personal finance expert is using her knowledge to inspire her clients to imbibe smart money habits that will improve their lives. From 2005-2011, she worked in the real estate and property industry, helping clients build credit to get approval for new rental properties. She also used the same knowledge to help her clients when she became a personal trainer.
While promoting physical wellness, she realized how important personal connection and communication are with clients. That’s where she got the inspiration to start her company Credit Repair Gal™ in 2019, dedicating her life to helping clients build good credits so they can live their best lives.
According to Angela Marie Kovacs, smart money habits are one of the most important things to help people build good credit and increase wealth. However, this habit is a lifelong effort that requires commitment and personal sacrifice. She also believes that to build a strong financial lifestyle, people must commit to daily money management habits.
She believes smart money habits include always having a budget for any expenses. Budgets help people plan and stick to it, thereby avoiding unnecessary or lavish spending that may negatively impact their credit score. She also believes people must find ways to avoid or eliminate debts. Having too much debt can hurt credit scores and make it impossible or difficult to take advantage of many growth opportunities.
Major purchases are inevitable for most people. Angela Marie Kovacs advises that people should take the responsibility to pre-fund these purchases to avoid going into debt when ready to buy. Setting up an emergency fund will also help solve serious financial challenges. Most people will be financially okay unless they face an unexpected emergency problem, especially relating to health. Pulling cash from an emergency fund at such a period will help reduce the negative impact that may damage their credit score.
Savings automation, using banking alerts, and acquiring financial and money knowledge can also increase opportunities. There are also huge opportunities in investing when done properly. Angela encourages her clients to seek advice on smart investment opportunities that will yield results.
Getting a good credit score is possible but people must be ready to put in the work. Most of these habits mentioned above may not be easy to adhere to but they are necessary for success in this journey of financial freedom. Practice makes perfect. Angela Marie Kovacs states people must practice these smart money habits every day until they get used to them.
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