Making Their Ma+rk

Honored at the 11th

idea that turned a difficult driving experience into a profitable business opportunity.

Now 18 years old, the entrepreneur has developed products designed to educate motorists about safety through her driver notification signs. With help from her mother, Winnie, Perry manufactures a variety of signs priced at $7.50 each that display messages such as “Driver in Training (Please Be Patient)” and “Senior Citizen (Please Be Patient).” Now, Drive Safe signs (www.drivesafesigns.com) make it easier for new motorists and senior citizens to drive in busy traffic while taking the edge off impatient drivers.

Perry’s success at identifying a need in the marketplace and filling it has earned her the Teenpreneur Award, which recognizes entrepreneurs aged 18 and under who serve as role models and are committed to advancing the rich tradition of black business achievement. “I want the public to know that our signs are well worth the money because they increase safety on the road,” says Perry, who knows from first-hand experience that her signs work.

Perry, along with her three
nieces, launched Columbia, South Carolina-based Drive Safe in October 2004. The business brought in revenues of $3,000 last year. The teenage CEO’s oldest niece, Tiffanie, 12, is the president; Twana, 11, is the vice president; and Victoria, 10, is in charge of customer relations. “I plan to hand the business over to my nieces before I leave for college next year,” says Perry. “Our business is not just about making money. I want my nieces to carry on the legacy of letting people know it’s about safety.”

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