Small Business Profiles
During almost a decade of service with the U.S. Military, Virginia-based lawyer Matt Banks witnessed several cases in which disabled veterans were denied disability compensation for injuries or conditions sustained during their military service because they did not have the medical evidence to show that their injuries or conditions were “service-connected.” This experience coupled with his desire to be an entrepreneur inspired Matt to start a small business devoted to helping his fellow veterans.
My journey to entrepreneurship was many years in the making. As a kid, I was inspired by my father’s work as a carpenter. Whenever there was a problem around the house, he would fix it himself. Not once did we have to call a plumber, an electrician or roofer. If nothing was broken, he was always coming up with projects to enhance our home. It was my father’s creativity, self-sufficiency, and ingenuity that made me have a strong desire to become an entrepreneur when I grew up. And that’s exactly what I did.
Photo courtesy of Triston Dimery
Denver student Kamiya Willoughby is challenging preconceived notions about a popular type of food that is often construed as unhealthy and unsophisticated.
“Soul food is a legitimate cuisine, but most people see it as a snack or junk food that you can only eat every once in a while.” Kamiya said.
“It is such a classic American cuisine that deserves a spotlight and deserves a step away from the stereotypes,” added Tess Hurlbert, Kamiya’s fiancée and business partner.
When Camille Kustin visited Paul’s Automotive in Sacramento, Calif., for the first time, she didn’t plan to stay longer than it took technician Mike Spellman to repair her car. Seven years and three kids later, the two are working side by side at that very same shop, which Mike now owns.
When Noelle Curtis was working to clear up her acne and hyperpigmentation, she noticed not many spas addressed the specific skincare needs of women of color. So instead of continuing to look for someone else’s solution, she decided to become an esthetician herself. After a whirlwind corporate career Noelle went on to open Pretty Dapper Day Spa, which offers a variety of services to Chicagoland clients of all skin types and skin colors.
Cuando Maritza Gómez no pudo conseguir un trabajo, tomó el asunto en sus propias manos y puso en marcha un negocio.
Maritza, propietaria de MG Custom Printing en Riverside, California, se mudó a los Estados Unidos desde México cuando tenía nueve años. Después de comenzar su negocio, decidió estudiar administración de empresas en la Universidad Estatal de California, San Bernardino. Mientras estaba en la escuela, participó en los programas de administración de empresas en el campus, los cuales desarrollaron aún más su espíritu empresarial.
Kenitra “Keni” Dominguez was determined to expand Red Bay Coffee’s employee benefits when she became the sustainable coffee company’s Director of People and Culture in early 2018.
“Finding good employee benefits takes time, dedication and resources, and before I came to Red Bay, there was no one serving in a dedicated HR or people operations capacity, so I was essentially starting from scratch,” she said.
Small business owner Natalie Dubose recounts the night of Nov. 24, 2014, like a scene out of the movie “Independence Day.”
“Every shop in downtown Ferguson leading up to mine and past mine was destroyed. I found furniture from the law firm across the street, that the protestors had used to break the windows,” she said.
There are many reasons to start a small business, but for longtime entrepreneur Letha Pugh and her wife, Wendy, their gluten-free bakery was born because Wendy’s Celiac disease prevented the family from going out for meals.
As a twenty-something woman in business with her parents, Molly Leadbetter often finds herself trying to convince customers that she is an equal partner in the family-owned Meriwether Cider Company in Boise, Idaho.