meet-the-black-woman-who-owns-three-chick-fil-a-restaurants-in-3-different-states

Meet The Black Woman Who Owns Three Chick-Fil-A Restaurants In 3 Different States

Meet Sereena Quick, who has made history by becoming the first Black woman to own a Chick-fil-A in three different states — Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The 39-year-old entrepreneur most recently opened her Chick-fil-A restaurant in her hometown in Philadelphia.

“It really is astounding just this accomplishment to really inspire and motivate the people in our community,” Quick said, according to AfroTech. “The young Black boys and girls in our community, who are going to one day look at me — or even at this opportunity — and say, ‘I too can do this.'”

Growing up in the public housing community of Raymond Rosen Homes and raised in a single-parent home, Quick faced many challenges. But she did not let it stop her. She graduated college and started a career as a juvenile probation officer in Philadelphia.

Her career took a turn when she moved to California and connected with Jon Hooper, the owner/operator of Chick-fil-A, Auto Mall Parkway in Fremont, California. Inspired by this mentorship, Quick decided to transition into the restaurant industry. She later returned to Philadelphia, where she continued to learn from experienced operators like Stanley Webber and Chris Walsh.

In just three years, Quick went from being the Executive Director at Chick-fil-A Malvern in Pennsylvania to becoming the proud owner of her Chick-fil-A restaurant in the state.

The new store on City Ave, owned and operated by Quick, is set to create over 100 jobs, contributing positively to the local community. Quick, who grew up in North Philadelphia, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to give back to the city and empower future leaders.

“I am passionate about creating long-term positive change in my community and look forward to this new chapter in the place where I was born and raised,” she said.

Be sure to follow Sereena Quick on her Instagram @SrnQuick

hbcu-grads,-founders-of-black-owned-golf-brand-secure-$3.4m-in-funding

HBCU Grads, Founders Of Black-Owned Golf Brand Secure $3.4M In Funding

Eastside Golf, a lifestyle golf brand founded in 2019 by African American entrepreneurs Olajuwon Ajanaku and Earl Coope (both HBCU graduates of Morehouse College in Atlanta), has hit a big milestone as they recently secured $3.4 million in funding. The funding aims to help grow their brand and change people’s perspective on golf.

Since its launch, Eastside Golf has achieved outstanding success, with a 600% growth in the last two years. From only 2 employees and $100,000 in revenue in their first year, they now have a team of 16 people and have earned over $4 million by 2023, according to Shoppe Black.

What sets Eastside Golf apart is its distinctive apparel line, resonating not only within traditional golf circles but also capturing the attention of professionals, celebrities, and other athletes alike.

EP Golf Ventures, a partnership between the PGA of America and Elysian Park Ventures, recognized the brand’s potential and took the lead in the recent seed round. They emphasized their shared commitment to breaking away from golf’s conventional boundaries and to broaden participation and inclusivity in the sport.

With the secured funding, Eastside Golf has ambitious plans. The brand’s goal is to launch new product lines, including wholesale and women’s apparel, and double the number of pop-up events in major markets. The second-annual Eastside Golf Invitational is on the horizon during New York Fashion Week, showcasing the eagerly awaited “Spring Forward” collection at the PGA Show in Orlando.

Celebrity endorsements from NBA stars Chris Paul and Jayson Tatum, NFL legend Victor Cruz, musician DJ Khaled, and former President Barack Obama highlight the brand’s widespread impact. Collaborations with global brands like Jordan Brand and strategic partnerships with the NBA, MLB, and Mercedes Benz further underscore Eastside Golf’s influence.

Moreover, Eastside Golf is also committed to social causes, donating $150,000 to support HBCU golf. The founders envision expanding globally and creating brick-and-mortar locations, expressing gratitude for the support from EP Golf Ventures.

Learn more about the brand via its official website at EastsideGolf.com

Also, be sure to follow the brand on Instagram @EastsideGolf

comerica-bank-backs-black-woman-in-launching-program-designed-to-help-african-and-caribbean-entrepreneurs-get-access-to-capital

Comerica Bank Backs Black Woman In Launching Program Designed To Help African And Caribbean Entrepreneurs Get Access To Capital

VentureHue, a Detroit, Michigan-based business support organization that provides technical assistance to technology entrepreneurs and traditional small business owners nationwide, has partnered with the Global African Business Association (GABA) to launch VentureHue ACCESS Lab, Sponsored by Comerica Bank. Comerica Charitable Foundation has provided GABA with a grant to launch the program. Brittni Abiolu, Founder & Managing Director at VentureHue, will oversee the program.

What Is It?

The program is a FREE 6-week (virtual) capital readiness accelerator designed to educate entrepreneurs on how to best position their businesses to raise capital. The accelerator consists of 6 classes lasting up to 2 hours each, covering subjects around debt and equity financing, establishing product market fit, gaining traction, building business credit, and finding grants.

Benefits of the Program

By the end of the accelerator program, participants will understand the many types of capital sources available, how to find them, and how to qualify for funding from those capital sources. Business finance experts from Comerica Bank (and other financial institutions) will also attend several sessions to provide information and advice, and answer questions.

Participants will learn about various types of Comerica Bank products and services provided including their financing solutions for early-stage companies in the technology sector and other financing products for small businesses.

Participants who successfully complete the program will get 6 FREE one-on-one sessions with the class instructor to further assist them in their fundraising efforts. They will also be considered for future opportunities to apply for grants and debt and/or equity funding through other VentureHue programs.

How This is Different from Other Accelerators

Other accelerators may focus on product development or customer discovery (it varies). The program focuses on how to better position and prepare your business to raise capital. It helps applicants to understand where they need to be and what they need to do to get there to meet their capital-raising goals. Our program mission is to help entrepreneurs with limited access to capital, networks, and other resources get the education and support they need to scale their businesses and fuel job creation.

Who Should Apply

Our primary focus is to assist diverse, underrepresented, and overlooked entrepreneurs (especially of African and Caribbean descent) that have already identified their product or service offering, have some traction/skin in the game (e.g. customers, users, live website, app, etc.),  and need funding for growth.

How to Apply

We are currently accepting applications for the program. Click here to apply.

Application deadline is Friday, March 22, 2024. Accepted applicants will be announced by April 5, 2024. Accelerator starts Thursday, April 18, 2024.

There will be information sessions held every Friday in February 2024. To get your questions answered and learn more about the program, click on the application link above to register for one of the information sessions.

For media, partnership, or sponsorship inquiries, please contact accesslab[at]venturehue.com

black-pilot-makes-history,-opens-new-aviation-training-school-in-florida

Black Pilot Makes History, Opens New Aviation Training School In Florida

Captain Barrington Irving, who made history as the first Black and youngest pilot to fly solo around the world when he was 23 years old, has founded the Barrington Irving Technical Training School in Miami, Florida. Through the school, he aims to empower aspiring pilots, particularly people of color, with the skills needed for success in the aviation industry.Teaming up with industry and community partners such as NBAA, Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade Aviation Department, Atlantic Aviation, and Bombardier, Irving has launched a professional and technical training center in South Florida in 2022.

The goal is to create a diverse pool of students from local, national, and international backgrounds, focusing on various business aviation disciplines. The center promises innovative programs, training approaches, and specialized technical and professional certifications.

In its first year, Irving proudly celebrated the graduation of 15 individuals who successfully completed his training program. Each of the students in the graduating class also secured jobs in the aviation sector. The ceremony, held at Opa-locka Airport in Miami, marked a significant moment for Irving, as it’s where he began his own aviation journey.

“I am so proud of them, and to know what they started from,” Irving told News 7 Miami. “Opa-locka Airport is where I got my start. These young people are signing with various companies in the community who said, you know what, ‘We’re going to give you a chance, we’re going to give you an opportunity to flourish within our industry.'”

Learn more about the school via its official website at BITTSchool.com

midwife-turned-entrepreneur-opens-virginia’s-first-black-owned-birthing-center

Midwife Turned Entrepreneur Opens Virginia’s First Black-Owned Birthing Center

Meet Racha Tahani Lawler-Queen, a fourth-generation midwife turned entrepreneur who founded Gather Grounded Midwifery, the first and only Black-owned birthing center in the state of Virginia. The newly opened facility is designed to be a welcoming haven for expanding families.

Lawler-Queen embarked on this journey earlier this year, driven by her passion for providing care that resonates with the community.

“I got on a Zoom call with Black birth workers in RVA and they were just telling me about what they were facing in regards to the lack of representation in birth, especially out of hospital birth,” Lawler-Queen told WTVR.

With the community’s support, Lawler-Queen initially planned to transform a Richmond home into a birthing center. However, she faced challenges with city permits that restricted the center’s growth in the area. Determined to make a difference, she found a new location in Chesterfield County, Virginia, officially opening its doors in August.

Gather Grounded Midwifery offers intentional spaces for expectant mothers, featuring a family room and birthing room that accommodate diverse families. Lawler-Queen emphasized the importance of families having care that reflects and supports their unique identities, allowing them to experience pregnancy without fear or unnecessary interventions.

“It’s meant to feel like a place where people see themselves, they feel seen, they feel safe,” she said.

With over $30,000 raised on the birthing cottage’s GoFundMe page, Lawler-Queen acknowledged the diverse support, including money, art, toys, and diapers. She credits the community’s enthusiasm for the center’s success, emphasizing that it enables her to support families during one of their most significant life moments.

“It really gives them even more power and a greater voice and provides them an opportunity without fear to birth in freedom to give birth in a way that affirms them and their family and how they want to move forward after they have this baby,” she said.

Learn more about the birthing center via its official website at GatherGroundedMidwifery.com

Also, be sure to follow them on Instagram @GatherGroundedMidwifery

couple’s-black-owned-wine-brand-hits-$1m-in-sales-after-‘shark-tank’-deal-with-mark-cuban

Couple’s Black-Owned Wine Brand Hits $1M In Sales After ‘Shark Tank’ Deal With Mark Cuban

Meet Whitney and Chaz Gates, an African-American husband-and-wife duo from Dallas, Texas who are the owners of wine label Wondry, which earned a whopping $1 million in sales since striking a deal with investor Mark Cuban on Shark Tank about a year ago.

In November 2022, the couple appeared on Shark Tank to pitch Wondry, which had raked in $250,000 in lifetime sales at that time with a $60,000 profit over 11 months. They secured a deal with Mark Cuban who invested $225,000 in exchange for a 15% stake in the business. Fast forward to less than a year, their local Texas business turned into a nationally recognized brand, Whitney told Benzinga.

Whitney and Chaz initially invested $100,000 from their personal savings to launch Wondry in August 2021. Whitney’s background in beverage brand marketing and Chaz’s legal expertise from a tech company set the stage for their entrepreneurial journey.

Their goal was originally to find an investor for them to be able to automate their manual labor processes and expand beyond their 1,400-square-foot space. With Mark Cuban’s investment, Wondry now operates out of a 10,000-square-foot facility and their 100% natural cocktail wines, boasting flavors of berries, citrus, and exotic fruits, are now available in over 400 stores nationwide. That’s quite a leap from only 50 retailers a year ago.

Cuban’s investment not only brought capital but also key connections. He introduced the Gates to a national alcohol distributor just 2 weeks after the investment and this connection has paved the way for a distribution deal, extending Wondry’s reach to restaurants, retailers, and airlines across the U.S.

Learn more about Wondry Wine via its official website at WondryWine.com

Also, be sure to follow the brand on Instagram @WondryWine

hbcu-grad,-creator-of-first-black-18-inch-superhero-doll-celebrates-having-sold-1,000’s-of-units

HBCU Grad, Creator Of First Black 18-Inch Superhero Doll Celebrates Having Sold 1,000’s Of Units

Shaneisha Dodson, a proud HBCU graduate of Grambling State University and the Founder and CEO of the Brilliant Girl, is celebrating having sold thousands of her dolls to young Black girls across the country. She says that she founded her company to create more representation in the toy and doll industry. “Growing up in Arkansas, there were not a lot of Black dolls on the store shelves,” she says.

This eventually inspired her to create the Sugamama doll, the first ever Black 18-inch superhero doll, and she has since heard so many stories from women who shared the same story of growing up and not seeing themselves represented.

Shaneisha says that these types of stories inspire her to continue creating products that promote positivity because she fully understands the impact that self-efficacy can have on a person’s growth. In fact, in 2022, she donated almost 100 dolls to children.

More than just dolls

As an award-winning playwright who loves to write, Shaneisha wanted to do more than just create dolls. And so, she has also authored and released two books The Adventures of Sugamama and Sugamama Saves Christmas to accommodate her best-selling doll. In addition, she has launched Positive Image Puzzles, a line of thoughtfully designed puzzles that highlight positive images surrounding fatherhood, superheroes, and girls having fun.

Shaneisha says that all are invited to celebrate the power of diversity as Brilliant Girl continues its mission of bringing more representation to the doll and toy industry and giving back to the community. To support her company, visit its official website at TheBrilliantGirl.com or follow the brand on Instagram @the_brilliantgirl

meet-the-black-woman-behind-the-world’s-best-banana-pudding-available-in-30+-different-flavors

Meet The Black Woman Behind The World’s Best Banana Pudding Available In 30+ Different Flavors

Meet Janel Prator, the brains and heart behind The Puddery, a dessert empire based in Pearland, Texas, that specializes in over 30 flavors of banana pudding. Not just any officer, but the CPO, or Chief Pudding Officer, Janel is the embodiment of pure culinary passion mixed with entrepreneurial spirit.

In 2006, while working as a field technician for a phone company, Janel was unknowingly laying the foundation for a dessert revolution. She always had a penchant for treating her coworkers with her delightful home-cooked goodies.

But one day, when she brought her banana pudding into the workplace, the response was nothing short of a sensation. A positive frenzy, if you will. Realizing the gem she had, and being the “born-preneur” she prided herself on being, Janel saw this as an opportunity. And thus, The Puddery was born.

Rather than sticking to the traditional script, Janel took the beloved southern classic, the banana pudding, and reimagined it. She infused her puddings with premium ingredients, playing with an assortment of unique fruits and cookies, delivering a fresh take on a timeless treat.

The Puddery’s banana pudding didn’t just catch the attention of Janel’s coworkers. Its fame soared, making appearances on reality shows such as The Great Food Truck Race formerly known as Nana Queens on the Food Network in 2010, and Mind Your Business with Mahisha Dillenger on OWN in 2018.

Fast forward to today, and Janel’s creations have earned their rightful place in various local retail locations. The Puddery’s treats are also shipped across the nation, are the highlight of numerous special events, and can even be delivered right to your doorstep!

But Janel isn’t stopping there. Her eyes gleam with future aspirations, including establishing multiple Puddery locations and continuing to create unique sweet treats like her cheesecakes on a stick and amazing croffles.

Transitioning from her days at the phone company, Janel is now wholeheartedly pursuing her dream, every single day. With a mission as sweet and clear as her puddings – to spread joy and pudding goodness in a cup around the globe – the world is, quite evidently, her pudding bowl.

To learn more about and/or support The Puddery, visit its brick-and-mortar location at 5517 Broadway Street, Pearland, Texas, or place an order online for delivery via its official website at ThePuddery.com

For press inquiries or media interview requests, contact info@thepuddery.com

father-and-son-make-history,-open-first-black-owned-ups-store-in-buffalo,-new-york

Father And Son Make History, Open First Black-Owned UPS Store In Buffalo, New York

Meet father and son duo, Dr. Uzo Ihenko and Kelechi Chillis-Ihenko, who have made history by opening Western New York’s first Black-owned UPS store in the city of Buffalo. Both passionate about serving their community, the two introduced the much-needed asset in the area.

Growing up in Buffalo, Kelechi saw the lack of essential services in their community, and now he’s thrilled to fill that need. After recently earning his MBA, he established the shipping and delivery store in Buffalo with his father. His father, Dr. Uzo, believes their family business is paving the way for others.

“People are seeing the future in their life and other businesses will copy and then other jobs will come,” Dr. Uzo told WKBW.

Besides shipping, delivery, and printing services, this UPS location offers fingerprinting services, making it convenient for those in need of background checks.

This UPS store has even more to offer. Dr. Uzo reveals their plans to turn the back part of the building into affordable apartments and office spaces, providing opportunities for the community to grow and thrive. This people-first approach is what they attribute their success to.

“If you’re not people first the people aren’t going to support you,” Kelechi said. “So you want to have anything you do be people-focused so that will help you be successful in business.”

Moreover, they are committed to staying in Buffalo for generations to come, bridging the gap between communities and businesses. Dr. Uzo said, “I told them we’re here to stay. We’re part of you and we’re here. So don’t forget it’s not only for them. It’s also for downtown people.”

Also, you can support the business by visiting its location at 345 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14204.

howard-grad-makes-history-with-hbcu-apparel-line-that-inspires-higher-education-in-the-black-community

Howard Grad Makes History With HBCU Apparel Line That Inspires Higher Education In The Black Community

Kamirria Wallace, a Howard University graduate turned entrepreneur, is championing higher education within the Black community with Black & Scholared, her fashion-forward collegiate apparel brand.

The number of Black students enrolling in higher education has been historically lower than their counterparts. Recent research has shown that enrollment rates have increased from 17.9% in 2010 to 22.6% in 2023; however, according to The Census American Community Survey, the number still falls short of the national average recorded at 32.9%.

Kamirria is on a mission to flip those statistics through her purpose-driven fashion brand. In 2020, she started Black & Scholared as a passion to build an HBCU legacy for her daughters. The company has magnified its mission three years later, offering collections of officially licensed HBCU collegiate apparel designed to celebrate and encourage higher education within the Black community. Items in the collections range from sweatshirts, t-shirts, and hoodies to totes, hats, and alumni lapel pins.

But Black & Scholared is not just for current and past students. Kamirria has stayed true to the motivation for starting the business by nurturing aspirations for higher education in toddlers and youth with the company’s youth collection.

For Kamirria, Black & Scholared is more than just a business. She is committed to helping Black students finance their dream of higher education. Consequently, Black & Scholared offers a scholarship fund to help students with tuition and living costs. She said: “Education is the key to decreasing the wealth gap in the Black community. As an HBCU graduate, I can attest that a sense of belonging is important to student success. That’s why we also support our HBCU partners with a portion of our profits.”

When Kamirria started Black & Scholared, she only had one HBCU license. However, the business has expanded to include licenses for 7 HBCUs, including Howard University, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Hampton University, Virginia State University, and Texas Southern University. With over 100 HBCUs across the country, Wallace plans to expand the company’s license to include more institutions.

She said: “We want to support institutions that provide education and the environment for Black students to thrive. We are building a brand, but we are also building a legacy.”

Since the company’s inception, Black & Scholared has reached over 500K scholars and contributed over $30,000 to the HBCU community. The brand is currently sold online and in major retail stores including Foot Locker and Barnes & Noble College HBCU campus bookstores.

For further information, visit BlackandScholared.com

Also, be sure to follow the brand on @BlackandScholared

About
Black & Scholared® is a community and purpose-driven apparel brand on a mission to celebrate, support, and encourage higher education within the Black Community. Through the sale of empowering collections and licensed collegiate apparel, Black & Scholared helps students and alumni who want to proudly represent their HBCU school or alma mater by providing fashion-forward apparel with a portion of proceeds regularly donated to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

For press inquiries, contact kamirria@blackandscholared.com and 773-458-6532