Entrepreneur Q & A
We are so lucky to have incredible entrepreneurs in our ecosystem. We were able to get in touch with some of them and chat about their inspiration, why they started, and what impact they hope to create!
Who is your biggest inspiration?
“Family members [who] are business owners are my inspiration. My brother, who my nonprofit [Roots 2 Empower] is modeled after, was a formerly justice-involved individual who served five years, who later opened his construction company that employs people in the Boston area. My dad, who own[ed] multiple businesses: a clothing store in the 70s, pastry delivery to local stores in Boston in the 80s, and now his own convenience store in Boston. And lastly, my uncle John… worked as a cattle rancher and saved his money to purchase his first cow. He accumulated multiple cows and was able to purchase the family home and move his family out of the sharecropper home in Mississippi.”– Tarshire Battle, Founder | Roots 2 Empower, O’Keefe’s Herb, Twig & Leaf
The mission of Roots 2 Empower is to improve the lives of formerly justice-involved citizens and their families in Southern New England. Read Roots 2 Empower featured in The Boston Globe & Rhode Island Inno.
They have participated in: 2021 Website Tech Assistance • 2020 WFH Grant • Coworking • 2020 Impact Accelerator • Talent Matchmaking
“I’m driven by the fact that happy, well-adjusted people feel safe, welcomed and ‘at home’. In my career as a serial social impact entrepreneur, I’ve explored a number of avenues to help people attain and maintain those foundations of happiness… Finally, I realized my calling has been to help people feel at home in their own bodies. I’ve been supporting people in their personal happiness and wellness journeys since 2006. My inspiration is a question: ‘how can I help?’”– Erica Nunnally, Founder | The Medicine Woman of Providence
The Medicine Woman of Providence meets people where they are on their wellness journey and provides them with custom blended wellness.
They have participated in: 2020 Restore RI • 2020 Laptop Program • Forum • Talent Matchmaking • Coworking • 2018 Health Accelerator
Why did you choose to start your own business?
“Empowering the groups of women victims of the rebellion conflict is the main motivation, these brave women who do not ask too much, but only the chance of being able to work and provide for the needs of their children, face problems of discrimination and stigmatization, which push them to leave their land to try other often perilous adventures, they are my main motivation. And that’s why most of the raw Hibiscus I use I buy from these women and give them 10% of my earnings to motivate them to have more faith and confidence in themselves.”– Bacary Diatta, Founder | Kassumay
Kassumay’s mission is to share their love of natural superfood nutrition. They are changing the health food game by introducing the nutrient-dense fruit spread that their family has always enjoyed, showing that good nutrition can be easy and delicious.
They have participated in: 2021 Impact Accelerator, SEG Equity Award • 2020 Laptop Program • 2020 WFH Grant
“I always knew I wanted to be a business owner at the early age of 12. I did not know what that business would be, but as I grew older, I fell in love with health and fitness. I am happy to be a proud woman of color and business. Serving all who enter the doors. I never let the color of my skin stop me from achieving my goals and love mentoring young adults to do the same. My favorite quote is: Proceed as if success is inevitable.”– Gail Bolden, Founder | American Muscle Corps
American Muscle Corps is a local fitness center in Pawtucket committed to providing a diverse array of non-judgemental, evidence-based training programs to their clientele.
They have participated in: 2021 Buy Local Campaign
“I believed there could be an organization that catered to and supported the mental and emotional health of BIPOC youth, while still offering a holistic educational and cultural experience. I wanted BIPOC youth to be able to see themselves existing in other places in the world; I wanted them to believe that they too could travel to other destinations and build lasting relationships with their peers abroad… Education is bigger than the classroom, and A Leadership Journey is here to serve as a catalyst and a model for education beyond the classroom.”– Akeem Lloyd, Founder | A Leadership Journey
A Leadership Journey provides students of color from marginalized identities equitable access to cultural exploration through travel, utilizing travel as the vehicle to discuss the importance of mental and emotional wellness, global citizenship, self awareness, leadership and ubuntu.
They have participated in: 2020 WFH Grant • Huddle • Independent Advising
What is your favorite part about being a business owner?
“My favorite part of being a business owner is freedom! I am able to create my own schedules, and manifest my visions into reality! It’s really incredible to feel confident enough to serve others from a place of passion. I love that I am allowed to create and design my own lane in the wellness industry.”– Jasmin Acevedo, Founder | Four2Five Wellness
Four 2 Five Wellness is an inclusive women owned collaborative providing root cause healing and wellness.
They have participated in: 2021 Impact Accelerator • Huddle • Expert Coaching
“My favorite part of leading an organization that gives away free flowers? Everyone is ALWAYS happy to see you. There’s no better feeling in the world… Witnessing the reactions of flower recipients really embodies our mission in a very tangible way, and helps me keep going, and keep striving to donate even more flowers!… The demand is high for flowers, and we are thrilled that our community can count on us for beautiful flowers—for free!”– Destenie Vital, Executive Director | What Cheer Flower Farm
What Cheer Flower Farm grows, repurposes and donates cut flowers to organizations that provide care to community members who are facing socioeconomic disadvantages.
They have participated in: 2021 Nonprofit Innovation Lab, Sparked! Winner
How do you want to make an impact?
“With our organic and plant-based products, KerlyGirl aims to vanguard the budding conscious space between beauty and health for folks of color. Through our branding, we highlight underrepresented voices in the beauty space: dark skin, coily haired, trans [and] non-binary folks of color.”– Kerlyne Jean-Baptiste, Founder | KerlyGirl LLC
KerlyGirl is a natural hair care venture offering organic and 100% plant-based products uniquely formulated for the hair needs of curly, coily, and kinky textures aiming to revolutionize the budding conscious space between beauty and health for folks of color.
They have participated in: Forum • 2020 Restore RI • Expert Coaching • Coworking • 2020 Impact Accelerator
“I want to educate and help underserved communities jumpstart their journey to a healthier lifestyle through juicing. I want to be right in the middle of a food desert where there’s no access to healthy foods. We need more people advocating for black and brown communities that don’t have those resources. It’s time to change the narrative.”– Sophonie LaFortune, Founder | How We Juicing?
How We Juicing? provides accessible and affordable healthy food options to communities that are normally underserved or that do not have access to healthy food nearby.
They have participated in: 2021 Impact Accelerator