Small Business, Big Ambition

This year's nominees got up and running with more than a little drive

medical community would get the word out about the business.
Battle, 48, is Cultura’s director of laser medicine. He graduated from Howard University Medical School and is a dermatology and laser surgery specialist. Harris, 38, is the practice’s director of plastic surgery. He’s a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and specializes in reconstructive and facial plastic surgery. Harris is also a clinical assistant professor in Georgetown University’s department of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery and Howard University’s department of dermatology.
The local and celebrity clientele is 60% people of color and mostly female, though there is a growing male component. The doctors opened the business after investing about $1 million in equipment and have nearly tripled that investment in 2004 revenues.

Krazy Kickz, TYPE OF BUSINESS: Footwear emporium, FOUNDERS: Sam Robinson and LaTesha Burroughs, LOCATION: Durham, NC
Remember those sneakers you used to have that you thought were really cool? Your favorite ones from 1980-something? Well, you might be able to find them again on Krazy Kickz (www.krazy kickz.com), the online sneaker forum where you can buy and sell current and classic styles of sneakers.
Sam Robinson, 21, and LaTesha Burroughs, 20, were full-time college students when they founded Krazy Kickz in 2001. Sneaker collectors and aficionados themselv
es, they started the company with about $1,000 and 20 pairs of sneakers. They now have three employees and two business advisers and work with a professional accountant. In 2004, the company took in just over $416,000 in revenues, almost double what it made in 2003. The site features today’s hottest styles, yesterday’s favorites, and limited edition styles never released in the U.S. that retail for more than three times their original value.
Robinson handles the company’s purchasing and public relations and manages business partnerships. Burroughs takes care of client relations and sales and marketing, handles some of the accounting, and maintains the Website. Burroughs built the Website herself and Robinson takes the product photos that appear on the site. Tracking down the largest variety of sneakers for their customers has taken the young entrepreneurs as far as Japan, and the company has an international clientele that is steadily growing.

RISING STAR AWARD NOMINEES
This award recognizes individuals, aged 21–35, whose outstanding skills, professionalism, and perseverance have established them as future business leaders.
Etu Evans L.L.C., TYPE OF BUSINESS: Footwear design and retail, CEO/HEAD DESIGNER: Etu Evans, LOCATION: New York City
If you love one-of-a-kind footwear on the cutting edge of fashion — or you know someone who does — you should know about Etu Evans. As head designer for Etu Evans L.L.C., Evans oversees the creative and strategic direction of his product line, which includes shoes, boots, and accessories. He selects the Italian factories that manufacture his products, and he’s responsible for the international brand’s public relations and marketing strategies. Many of Evans’ designs are crafted with imported genuine leather and feature hand beading, stenciling, and embroidery. And if you have something specific in mind, he can custom design it for you.
Evans, 34, launched his footwear line in 1998 with

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