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.
When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.
However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.
What is Sallie Mae?
Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.
In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.
However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.
In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).
At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.
What is the difference between private and federal student loans?
With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.
On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.
Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.
As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.
Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?
In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.
However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.
If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.
With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.
The bottom line
Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.
Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.
PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have.
1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually
You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.
With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.
The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.
4. Savings and Retirement Accounts
The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.
A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies.
Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan.
Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito.