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black-owned businesses

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How Nextdoor's Product Marketing and Multicultural Engagement Lead Reesha Howard Is Using Her Journey To Amplify Underrepresented Voices

Reesha Howard had an unconventional journey into her position as a tech executive. Born in the South Side of Chicago, IL, Howard recalls growing up to appreciate the differences in cultures and forging connections with people of color as well as with those who identified as queer. This was on full display while she attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School. “It’s funny how when you take the time to reflect on how a journey started, you’ll notice all these clues along the way to where you were headed, long before you realized it…,” she mentioned. “ By the time I attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, I was deeply immersed in culture and always had strong connections with people of color and queer people.” Howard’s burgeoning advocacy later manifested in her career trajectory, which was uniquely challenging to embark upon. While attending Florida A&M University on a full-ride scholarship, she recalls feeling “ under-resourced” and “overwhelmed” with her responsibilities at...

Jun 17, 2024

11-Year-Old Quentin Hines' Interest In Lawn Mowing Started Once He Could Walk — Now, He's Turned It Into A Business Of His Dreams

11-year-old Quentin Hines is his own boss. According to CBS Mornings, Hines founded QJ’s Professional Lawn Care in 2022. His lawn-care company offers services like mowing, edging, weed treatments, and leaf pickup. His interest in lawn mowing began when he could walk, and he began to take greater control in mowing alongside his father when he was 8 years old. “I really enjoy it. It makes me feel very soothing,” Hines told CBS Mornings. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Quentin Hines Jr. Lawncare (@qjsprofessionallawncare) In the summertime, Hines invests extra time into his business. When he returns to school in the fall, his business activities are limited to weekends. Hines’ father Quentin Sr. and his mother Shirley run the business’s social media accounts to support their son’s business efforts. Hines’ fifth-grade classmates also support his business venture, and he is in the process of recruiting some of them to help expand his business. His overarching dream for his...

Jun 17, 2024

Dr. Leeja Carter Created A Smart Refrigerator To Provide Healthy Food Options In Food Deserts Across New Jersey

After dedicating years to researching Black women’s health, Dr. Leeja Carter has developed a device to assist them. As a professor and a scholar, C arter had a desire to do more work within the community beyond the standard work on publications and presentations. Even in her academic role at Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY, she said she felt like a spectator to the issues that were important to her. That all changed in 2020. “My research and work were really social determinants of physical activity and its impact on Black women’s health,” Carter told AFROTECH™. “And being in academia for 15 years as a Black woman researching Black women’s health, while I definitely had spaces of comfort, care, and support, I would say there were greater experiences where I still definitely felt like an outsider and felt that it was still an uphill battle to gain support to do the work that was so close to my heart.” She added, “When you’re in an academic space, what is currency is...

Jun 14, 2024

Founder Pinky Cole Explains Why She Maintains Ownership Over 70% Of Slutty Vegan’s Real Estate

Pinky Cole had a vision when she first launched Slutty Vegan as a food truck in Atlanta, GA. That blueprint has since transformed Slutty Vegan into a lucrative restaurant worth $100 million. Cole recently explained the difference between a 70% and 30% portfolio and how she and her team have developed a strategy that works for them. “So, 70% of the Slutty Vegan businesses, I own the real estate,” Cole said in an “Earn Your Leisure” podcast clip shared to promote her appearance at the 2024 Invest Fest. “And the reason why I did that is because I wanted to go into inner-city communities, communities that developers aren’t so attracted to, and areas that are right in the heart of gentrification. What Slutty Vegan does is go into the neighborhood, raise up the value of that community, help other business owners, because we always have lines down the block. So, they win when we win, and we win when they win.”   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Earn Your Leisure...

Jun 12, 2024

Will.i.am's FYI Partners With Robert F. Smith's InternXL To Expose College Students To The AI Industry

Robert F. Smith’s internXL has launched a collaboration with Will.i.am to provide access to AI tools. According to a press release shared with AFROTECH™, internXL announced that it has partnered with Will.i.am’s FYI (Focus Your Ideas), an AI-driven collaboration platform. Co-founded by tech entrepreneur Sunil Reddy, FYI works to provide creatives with messaging, collaboration tools, file management, and content publishing features to increase productivity, per its website. Now the new partnership’s goal is to provide college students and recent graduates from underserved communities with exposure to artificial intelligence as well as facilitate engineering industry work opportunities. “Joining forces with Robert F. Smith, alongside internXL and FYI, is a dream come true because it shows people from our communities what our future will look like with the support of purpose- driven tech,” Will.i.am shared in a press statement. “By being solution-oriented, we prepare today’s generation...

Jun 12, 2024

Andre Powell Invested Nearly $1M Of His Own Funds To Launch 'The World's First Franchised Rideshare Company'

Black-owned rideshare company Goldsainte is making significant strides. The Charlotte, NC-based company, founded by Andre Powell in 2021, is marketed as “the world’s first franchised rideshare.” The business is looking to disrupt the $70 billion dollar industry and is taking on a business model that will allow riders to benefit from luxury vehicles with advanced proprietary technology provided by franchisees. The model is also inspired by Powell’s background as a multi-unit Jimmy John’s franchisee through his venture APEM Restaurant Group. “It made more sense to scale through franchising because the better part of my career was spent as a multi-unit franchisee,” Powell told the Charlotte Business Journal. Currently, Goldsainte offers two verticals featuring franchisee-owned vehicles. The first, Goldsainte XL, offers Infiniti QX80s to lease or own by the franchisee and is available for franchising across 38 states . Goldsainte Premium is available in select U.S. markets, according to...

Jun 6, 2024

Keith Lee And Microsoft Team Up To Teach Black Restaurateurs About AI Tools For Business Efficiency

Keith Lee has been amplifying Black-owned restaurants with his viral food reviews on TikTok. In an interview with AFROTECH™ in 2023, the viral food critic discussed increasing the visibility of local Black-owned restaurants in the U.S. “Just to be able to be on a scale where people see the hard work that’s put in because a lot of times these restaurants have great food and great customer service, but they just don’t have the eyes on them,” Lee told AFROTECH™. “I think it’s just gonna be so dope to allow these restaurants to have the platform that they deserve.” For 2024, Lee has a new partnership to create efficiency for Black-owned businesses. According to a press release shared with AFROTECH™, Lee has teamed up with Microsoft to provide restaurateurs with AI tools to help their businesses thrive. In 2021, two-thirds of Black-owned businesses had fewer than 10 employees, per Pew Research Center . Lee and Microsoft aim to tackle the barrier through the efficacy and growth that AI...

Jun 6, 2024

Hello Alice Wins Lawsuit After Being Sued For Awarding Grants To Black-Owned Businesses

Hello Alice can continue on its mission to support small businesses. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, the company, created by Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz, was named in a class action lawsuit for awarding up to $25,000 in grants to 10 Black-owned businesses in partnership with Progressive Insurance Co. They were sued by Nathan Roberts, who owns an Ohio-based trucking dispatch company and claims he didn’t know Progressive Insurance’s Driving Small Business Forward fund was exclusively for Black-owned businesses. Progressive Preferred Insurance Co., Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., and Circular Board LLC — which operates Hello Alice — are listed as defendants in the lawsuit filed by America First Legal, Mitchell Law PLLC, and Ashbrook Byrne Kresge LLC. Now, a resolution has been reached. According to a news release, the case has been dismissed by a federal judge in Ohio. “This resolution marks a pivotal moment not only for our company but for the broader small business...

Jun 5, 2024

Following Diddy's Exit, Revolt Employees Now Become The Company's Largest Shareholder Group

Revolt employees now become the largest shareholder group of the media company, The New York Times reports. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, Diddy had exited his position as chairman of Revolt TV and sold his remaining shares to an anonymous buyer. Now it has been announced by Revolt CEO Detavio Samuels that Diddy has officially separated from the company he founded in 2013 alongside Andy Schuon. “One-hundred percent of Sean Combs’s shares have been redeemed and retired,” Samuels said, according to The New York Times. “He is no longer chairman. He is no longer on the board. He has no shares, no equity in Revolt. We have completely separated and dissociated from each other.” The majority of Revolt’s employees, which consists of about 80% people of color, are now the company’s largest shareholder group, the outlet notes. The initial value of Diddy’s shares in the company is unclear. “Today marks one of the biggest days we’ve seen at REVOLT and in media (especially Black media),”...

Jun 4, 2024

Fearless Fund Barred From Providing Grant Funding To Black Women Entrepreneurs

Fearless Fund has been barred temporarily from providing funding to Black entrepreneurs. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, the venture capital fund had been sued by Edward Blum and his American Alliance for Equal Rights group in August 2023 for “explicit racial exclusion” by creating a grant program dedicated solely to Black women, The Washington Post shares. Initially, U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash had ruled in favor of Fearless Fund, but the verdict was blocked by a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on Sept. 30, 2023. Fearless Fund, looking to retract the verdict, filed to appeal the September ruling. In the most recent update, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has temporarily blocked Fearless Fund from continuing its efforts to support Black women entrepreneurs with funding, CNN reports . The panel judges ruled the Fearless Fund’s Fearless Strivers Grant Contest is “substantially likely to violate” Title 42 of the US Code’s provisions,...

Jun 4, 2024

TikTok Food Reviewer Keith Lee Stuns The Internet By Reviewing His Brother's New Florida Restaurant

Keith Lee is back with another food review, but this one is special because it hits home. According to Dexerto, the beloved TikTok food reviewer left fans stunned after sharing a video of him testing out his brother’s new restaurant, Braised by Kevin Lee, located in Florida. “Me and my family are in Hollywood, Florida and the food in this bag is from my brother’s restaurant,” Keith said in the May 27 video. “When I say my brother, I mean the same mom and dad. But I didn’t order it and he doesn’t know we’re here.” @keith_lee125 Braised By Kevin Lee taste test 💕 would you try it ? 💕 #foodcritic @Kevin Lee ♬ original sound – Keith Lee What’s more, before their foray into the food business, both of the Lee brothers were heavy in the competitive martial arts world. Keith spent a good amount of his life as a Bellator MMA fighter, and Kevin gained a lot of attention in the UFC before retiring in July 2023. “We all lived in [Las Vegas, NV] but he moved to Miami and opened his own pop-up,”...

Jun 3, 2024

Mississippi Native Marquitrice Mangham Opened A Grocery Store To Combat Food Insecurity, And She’s Enlisting The Help Of Local Farmers To Do So

Marquitrice Mangham has opened a grocery store in her hometown. According to Capital B News, Mangham was born and raised in Webb, MS, but moved away after high school. Now living in Atlanta, GA, she ventured back part-time to the Mississippi community of less than 500 residents in 2016 after she inherited family farmland. Upon her return, Mangham recognized worsening circumstances had affected housing and businesses in the area. Additionally, for household needs locals could only rely on a Dollar General, which had been in operation since 2009. The nearest grocery store was a 20-mile drive. Mangham decided to support the community by establishing Farmacy Marketplace in 2022. The 2,500-square-foot store sources its fresh foods and meats primarily from local farmers. Additionally, she opened the grocery store under her nonprofit, In Her Shoes, to have access to programs and resources that can sustain the store in the community. “There was only one grocery store in the whole county,...

May 30, 2024

Rosalind Brewer, Will Packer, And More Join Atlanta Falcons' Ownership Group

The Atlanta Falcons has welcomed four limited partners. According to a press release shared with AFROTECH™, Rosalind Brewer, Will Packer, Dominique Dawes, and Rashaun Williams are now a part of the NFL team’s ownership group. The additions come after the 32 NFL majority owners reached a final vote in Nashville, TN. Ahead of the approval, Brewer, Packer, Dawes, and Williams were vetted by the Atlanta Falcons, the league office, and the NFL’s Finance Committee, the press release discloses. For Brewer, in addition to being a limited partner, she will continue to serve as an associate board director for Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank’s Family Foundation. “ As I embrace the opportunity to become a limited partner of the Atlanta Falcons, I’m reminded that true leadership extends beyond boardrooms and onto the fields where dreams are forged and communities united,” Brewer shared in a statement. “ My journey has always been about people – their stories, aspirations and the communities we...

May 22, 2024

Uncle Nearest Whiskey Purchases Vodka Brand Square One Organic Spirits

Uncle Nearest’s presence in the spirits sector continues to rise. The whiskey company, established in 2016 by Fawn Weaver to honor Nathan “Nearest” Green, a formerly enslaved man who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey, has scaled into 30,000 stores, bars, hotels, and restaurant s in 12 countries, as AFROTECH™ previously reported. In its latest report, Bloomberg notes Weaver aspires to own a larger share of the spirits market. This stance has motivated the company to purchase vodka maker Square One Organic Spirits. Additionally, she mentions a settled legal dispute between Diageo Plc and Sean “Diddy” Combs concerning his vodka brand as a contributing factor for her latest acquisition, noting a void in the market and the importance of having a Black-owned vodka occupy space. The market is heavily dominated by major players such as  Diageo PLC and LVMH, with valuations totaling nearly $79 billion and $423 billion, respectively, the outlet mentions. Uncle Nearest continues to gain a...

May 21, 2024

How Shayna Atkins Founded Atkco, Which Was Named The Third-Fastest-Growing Company In The Midwest Of 2024 By Inc. Magazine

Shayna Atkins is a multi-generational entrepreneur now leading the third-fastest-growing company in the Midwest and the fastest in Illinois of 2024, according to Inc. magazine. She credits her interest in entrepreneurship to her mother, who owned several businesses on the West Side of Chicago, IL, including a pager shop in the early ‘ 90s. During this time she recalls being exposed to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as she would program beepers at the shop. “I used to program beepers when I was young. Like those were some of my early science experiments for school, and also help her out at the shop,” Atkins shared in an interview with AFROTECH™. “I would actually program, like turn on and turn off, pagers using a DOS program at a very, very young age. Those two things I think really reduce the barrier of fear around both STEM as well as entrepreneurship.” In high school, Atkins developed a liking towards physics and selected the field for her...

May 20, 2024