seen revenues grow from $710,000 in 2003 to more than $1 million in 2005. The company expects continued growth in 2006. Locklear has completed more than 350 hours of post-graduate training at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.
TYPE OF BUSINESS: DNA-based Genealogy Tests. FOUNDERS: Rick Kittles and Gina Paige. LOCATION: Washington, DC
Do you know what part of Africa your ancestors came from? Rick Kittles can tell you. Like many African Americans, Kittles wanted to trace his ancestry. But getting started was not easy-until now.
Three years ago, Kittles and his partner, Gina Paige, started Maryland-based African Ancestry, which uses DNA technology to provide a bridge to the past for people of African descent. The company sells DNA-based ancestry test kits for $349 each, which can pinpoint where in Africa a client’s ancestors came from.
Clients use swabs to wipe inside their cheeks and return the DNA samples via express service. African Ancestry then sends samples to Sorenson Genomics, a Salt Lake City-based laboratory that processes the swabs to determine their DNA genotyping and sequencing.
The key to the success of African Ancestry is the company’s comprehensive genetic African lineage database, a repository of molecular blueprints of Af
rican peoples created by Kittles, who has an extensive experience and expertise studying genetic variations in the African diaspora.
Paige, who serves as president, is optimistic about the company’s growth potential and the impact it’s making within the black community. “Our company is transforming the lives of African Americans because they are finding a part of their family history that they thought they lost forever,” says Paige. African Ancestry’s revenues totaled $450,000 in 2005 and is expected to total $850,000 in 2006.
RISING STAR AWARD NOMINEES
This award recognizes individuals, aged 21-35, whose outstanding skills, professionalism, and perseverance have established them as future business leaders.
TYPE OF BUSINESS: Car Customization. FOUNDERS: Hassan and Hussein Iddrissu & John Spio. LOCATION: Los Angeles
Whether it’s a custom-made cab for their Porsche GTC45 or 20-inch Maya GR5 wheels for their Ferrari F430 Spyder, car enthusiasts want more from their rides. When celebrities want to find a place that can modify their exotic cars, all roads lead to Roadstarr Motorsports, one of the most sought after automobile customization shops in Los Angeles.
Hassan Iddrissu, 28, a native of Ghana, decided to turn his love of stylish cars as a teen into a business. In 2001, he opened Roadstarr Motorsports, a luxury car customization service with his twin brother, Hussein, and cousin, John Spio. Now, the three dynamic entrepreneurs have combined their passion for high-end European cars with the lucrative opportunities found in the exploding landscape of automotive accessories and car customization.
Each day, Roadstarr customizes at least five to seven high-end European automobiles that come through their shop, such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Land Rover, and Lamborghini. And the company’s clientele reflects it. Roadstarr’s celebrity roster includes European soccer star David Beckham,