Armed with a cosmetology license, two bachelor’s degrees and a love for organic hair care, Mariatu “Tu” Browne is on a mission to unlock the natural beauty of every client she encounters. She discovered her passion for hair at the early age of nine while braiding hair for her friends and family in her native home in Sierra Leone.
Elizabeth James has a soft spot for small businesses.
“I understand that the small businesses of this country are not only a place to work, but are the culmination of someone's dreams and aspirations,” she says. Elizabeth’s family owned businesses and she attended University of California’s School of Business, so starting her own company seemed like a no-brainer. After garnering a unique expertise in tax and controller services, Elizabeth decided to open up her own bookkeeping and tax prep firm, Rincon Controller and Tax Services, Inc., in 2012 in Carpinteria, Calif.
Elizabeth says, “I realized that small businesses need the services and guidance that are available to larger companies, but often beyond small business' pocket books. Tax and controller services in particular are typically exclusive corporations, and I wanted to change that.”
How did Stepheni Norton, a military veteran, go from active duty, to farmer, to successful entrepreneur over the course of just six years?
In February 2012, Stepheni and her husband Mike, who is also a military veteran, purchased the Wallace D. Dickinson homestead in National City, Calif. When they bought the property, Stepheni was preparing for a 10-month deployment, and after a seemingly harmless tick bite, she was unknowingly experiencing the early symptoms of Lyme disease. After being left untreated for two and a half years, Stepheni was finally diagnosed in 2014.
Candace Combs is a spa owner on a mission, working to heal her customers and make massage more accessible to her community.
“What we do isn’t designed just to relax you, but to physically help you,” Candace said. “People need massage in their lives.”
Small business owner Christin Evans is writing the next chapter for two historic bookstores.
Most 25 year olds are more worried about paying off their student loans than launching a business to help their neighborhood. Not Kateri Gutierrez.
“Being involved in the community and teaching people about civic engagement is a labor of love for me,” said Kateri.
Alfredo Zendejas co-owns Accesorios Zendejas along with his wife, Leticia Sanchez, in Los Angeles, California. A true mom-and-pop enterprise, Alfredo and Leticia work together to design, create and deliver custom decorative pieces for quinceñeras, baptisms, weddings and other special occasions.
Around the country, small business owners are struggling to find qualified employees. In fact, some 40% of American employers cite lack of skills as the No. 1 reason for entry-level job vacancies, especially among young job candidates. Meanwhile, the youth unemployment rate in our country remains considerably high after the aftermath of the Great Recession. Though some small businesses may want to help address this problem while identifying potential talent, they often don’t have the resources to sponsor an internship or mentoring program.
In this economy it’s a notable accomplishment to secure a well-paying, full time job with benefits in your early twenties. But it’s perhaps even more impressive to leave the security of such a position to pursue a dream of becoming a business owner. That’s exactly what Kateri Gutierrez did when she opened her mobile coffee shop, Collective Avenue Coffee, in the fall of 2015. However, when Kateri answered her call to entrepreneurship, it came at a price; it meant leaving behind her employer-sponsored health coverage.
At Resilient Beauty Bar in Fairfield, CA, you’ll experience a warm and inviting atmosphere where the wellbeing of the client takes priority. The proud owner, Dee Naylor, has been a beauty professional and stylist for more than fifteen years, and hopes to eventually open a second location. But her plans to expand her business are on hold, as they hinge on the future of the Affordable Care Act.