Courtesy of Creative Commons

Imagine; the only time that your race is credited with owning a business or being successful is when it’s associated with bars, nightclubs or drug dealing. It isn’t until you grow older that you realize black business owners hold some of the highest seats in corporate positions, and that there is an abundance of successful and educated black entrepreneurs across the country. This week’s column is dedicated to the hardworking, vision minded young black entrepreneurs who sit next to us in our classes and grace our campus with their driven presence.

These black entrepreneurs are not only full time students but chase a dream during their down time.

While most business owners wait until they’re older to pursue beginning a business, these three black students see potential in not only the craft of what they have to offer society, but in a social struggle that only seems to instill the idea of wealth in the minds of society with rich white men as the only ‘sole’ holders.

Meet Sebastian Sanders, CEO of Sanders Hand, a nonprofit organization that empowers the youth and inspires ideas about success. Sanders juggles the intense major of business management and yet takes every opportunity he can to visit schools and speak with students about setting goals for themselves, all the while implementing positive ideas about college in their young minds. His organization doesn’t stop there though; it lends a helping hand with community service projects like Habitat for Humanity and Toys for Tots. Sanders reflects on being a black business owner in his statement:

“We live in a world where so many barriers are placed on us due to the color of our skin. As a minority, you have to defeat the odds and strive each and every day for greatness while learning and growing with your business.”

The black excellence on campus doesn’t stop there, Ana Richie and Morgan Allen own thriving businesses that exceed sales and leave the two of them successfully sold out every week! Sophomore senator of SGA by day, handcrafted jewelry maker by night, Lillian + E Accessories is surely a flower that Ana enjoys growing. Allen, CEO of MoePrep; a healthy meal preparation business, offers busy students the luxury of having freshly cooked meals packaged and ready to go for their eventful weeks. Allen shares with us the secret of cooking amazing meals while recognizing her own black excellence in the process when she states:

“It is truly a blessing to be able to call myself an entrepreneur as a black woman. This freedom was earned by hard work and dedication, so it is only right that I continue this legacy as such!”

Richie couldn’t have said it better when she said being a black entrepreneur honors your ancestors who worked so hard. As Maya Angelou once said, ‘I am the hope and dream of the slave.’ The quote reminds Richie to live out her dream to do what she loves and reap the benefits of her labor.

On behalf of every person of color who has a dream and is afraid to chase it, I think it’s safe to simply say, thank you; your story is ours.

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