Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Lamont Thompson | Codyportraits | photographer

Growing up I always love taking pictures of family, friends, even myself. Photography at the time was just for fun, I never planned for it to become my actual business. Read more>>

Scott Peterson Jake Holtzer | Scott Peterson – CEO, Jake Holtzer – COO

The motivation to start Broken Leg Entertainment was drawn from two pivotal points. The first, the idea to create a structure promoting the freedom to live our dreams. Read more>>

Katie Montell | The Baby Planner – Maternity Consultant and Parent Coach

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I felt extremely prepared. I had a lot of experience with babies and had even been a nanny and night nanny. I did ALL of the research, read all of the books, and took a ton of courses. Read more>>

Avery Watson | CEO of Multi Artistry Ent; journalist, publicist, dancer, educator and TedX Speaker

Writing my history was important to me and I didn’t see it happening under someone else’s vision. Hard work beats talent, and for me; the talented are just as weak as the doers; we all need support across the board. Read more>>

Victoria Prince | Licensed Esthetician, International Educator, Continuing Ed Sponsor, and the Creative Founder and CEO of Tori Prince Beauty, LLC, and the Chicago Skin Lab.

As women of color, I know that we feel pressured to accomplish everything, for everyone and I know that sometimes it means putting our own self-care on the back burner. Read more>>

Marian Chism | Cocktail & Event Curator

Funny enough I’ve had the entrepreneurial spirit since I was 18. My dad always said “you have too many million dollar ideas”. With Beyond Measure Bar, I knew there was a gap in the market for a bar business that filled the holes. Read more>> 

Keziah Agbaere | Pediatric Travel Nurse & The Off Duty Creator

The Off Duty Nurse was created in 2015 during my 1st year as a registered nurse. A medication error and poor staffing ratios made me nearly leave the nursing profession entirely, but instead I decided to use my voice and experience to create The Off Duty Nurse. Read more>>

Sheryl Roberts | Vintage curator and retail store owner

I wanted to start my business because I love unique clothing. I love the idea of looking stylish on a budget. And I love sustainable fashion because it dosen’t impact the environment in a negative way. Read more>>

Carissa Rolle | Teacher/Tutor/Mentor/A

Starting my own business has been my dream since the 6th grade. My company’s name came from my idea when my sixth-grade teacher asked us to create business cards for a business we would start in the future. Read more>>

Leah Tibbs | Cookie Diva, Pastry Chef, Woman of many talents

This is a big question that can be answered in so many ways. I think the simplest way to answer it is that I saw there was.a way I could make an impact in an area that wasn’t being focused on, or wasn’t beneficial to the bottom line of someone else. Read more>>

Eli Yenskii | Musician

For me, it was less about “starting a business”, and more about living a fulfilling life. Music just fed me, you know? I also noticed at a young age how happy it made other people when I sang or danced. I never wanted to do the whole 9-5 thing. It just wasn’t my vibe. So I’ve always naturally thrown myself into anything creative. Read more>>

Tamika Middleton | Creator

So, I started my business back in 2017. I originally wanted to just do an urban clothing line, hence my business name Urban Edge, but that wasn’t really me and I just didn’t put much effort into it. Read more>>

Brit Thompson | Fractional COO/OBM Educator

I have always had a passion for helping people. Back in 2016, I realized that I had a passion for business as well. What better way to help others than to assist them in making more money in their businesses? I mapped out all of my strengths: Read more>>

Vedam Clementi | Executive Chef & Owner

I began Vee Culinary in quite a roundabout way, and to understand how it came to pass, I need to give you some history. I could say that the birth of Vee Culinary happened because of life events from childhood to a 30-year evolutionary process in adulthood with health-related issues. Read more>>

Morrickson Richards | Entrepreneur & Photographer

My biggest thought process with starting this business was. Being about to start something that I can pass down to my kids, and also help people in need at the same time. Read more>>

Roberto and Shamika Brooks | Owners

We wanted to bring a healthy option to our community. Smoothies is an item as a family we loved making. However we wanted to bring a product that was not loaded with sugar and artificial flavors. Read more>>

Geoycelyn Henderson | Nail Salon Owner

Honestly, there was no process behind the start of my business. I saw an opportunity and went for it! I was doing nails since I was in my college dorm and decided to drop out and pursue this industry. Read more>>

Oruaro Ikede | Music Artist/ Entrepreneur

For me, it has always been the goal to be my own Boss and be able to set my schedule. I started as an independent musician from a young age and I believe having to be self sufficient and motivated builds character. Read more>>

Chenelle Bragg | Chef Chenelle Monique

My desire of starting a food business came from the joy that I felt when I baked or cooked food for others and they enjoyed it. Baking was my first love, so whenever I was sad or needed a pick me up, I would bake, and it instantly made me feel better. Read more>>

Brittney Powe | Boutique Owner

My initial thought behind my business is that I want to finally have something of my own. I want to run a business that is simply based off my ideas. I want to run a business that would encourage and inspire young women like myself to GET THEIR OWN! Read more>>

Keyonna Bundridge | Cleaning Business Mogul , Mom, Engineer

I was actually never someone who aspired to be an entrepreneur. The idea of not working a traditional 9-5 was scary and foreign to me my entire life. Truthfully; Read more>>

LaKaye Mbah | Branding & Portrait Photographer

The decision to start working for myself started out of necessity. I worked full time as a photographer and administrator for a local magazine that I truly loved and admired. Read more>>

Isaiah Wallace | Model & Creative Director

The beginning of my modeling and creative directing journey all started when I first entered college. As a new kid on the block that was just entering their first moment of freedom, I will say that finding my niche in the beginning was less than easy. Read more>>

Alexandria Alstork | Part Owner / Baker

Being from Little Rock, Arkansas, and moving to the southside of Chicago, I wanted to bring some nostalgia to people who missed that love and comfort from Grandmother’s kitchen. Read more>>

Marcelina Castro | Creator/Small Business Owner

I was always a candle fan and purchased them all the time. Once I would find a favorite candle, it would get discontinued, or simply not exist. Many candles would leave me disappointed with poor scent quality once lit. Read more>>

Mahli Cooper | 10 Year Old Gourmet Popcorn Chef

I watched my mom and dad operate their own business. So I knew that I wanted to grow up and own my own business as well! What I didn’t know was that I would start to pursue my dream at the age of 9 years old. Read more>>

Samantha Zagar | Human Design Guide

It took me a few tries before I started one that was successful, but this one was born out of passion and necessity and that seemed to be what was missing from my previous ventures. Read more>>

Michael Morrison II | CEO of Creative Loft Media, a full-service multimedia management, music publishing and entertainment company operating in the heart of downtown, Atlanta, Georgia.

I love to create and see a vision come to life. I also love to help people achieve their goals and their dreams. I received the desire to put that into action as a business and allowed my faith to guide me in seeing it come to fruition. Read more>>

Megan Young Gamble | “The Project ExecutionHER™” | CEO, Principal Consultant, Speaker, Author, and Trainer

Launching a product in the market takes a lot of strategy, sleepless nights, campaigns, and sourcing packaging. Read more>>

Lakita Davis | Graphic Designer

When starting The Brand Museum, my goal was to equip my customers with innovative solutions to catapult their businesses, products, and brands so they create value and maintain competitive advantages in their respective industries. Read more>>

Munik | Artist – Kitboys Club Records / Lucid FC

So the main aim at first was for us to build a community and brand that continued pushing the Atlanta culture we were brought up around. The Kitboys Club, created a platform for us to execute on all the ideas we have for doing so. “If you’re going to work at something for the rest of your life, you might as well build a home”-Kou. Read more>>

Victoria Rose | International Artist’s Model & Fortune Teller

I chose: How to know whether to keep going or give up? When we last spoke in 2019, I was at the height of my career reading tea leaves and tarot cards for clients at oddities markets, psychic fairs and conventions, the Historic Oakland Cemetery, the set of The Walking Dead, and so much more. Read more>>

Ashia Pace | Bartender & business owner

I knew at a young age that I wanted to be my own boss. Once I started bartending and became good at it, I knew I could create a business from my passion. Drinks are an important part of an event so we promise to show up and show out every time. Read more>>

LaDerricka Long | Founder of Kaotic Kurves

When i was younger (high school days) it was hard for me to find clothes that i deemed stylish and fit me as a teenager, and this carried on into adulthood as well. I wanted to give plus size women the accessibility to high quality and true to size clothing. Read more>>

Tiffany “Cheffany” Giles | Chef & Cake Decorator

My thought process behind starting my own business was and still is to create general wealth. My goal is to leave my children and their children with something they can build on for future generations. Read more>>