2011 B.E. Small Business Award Winners

These companies nab top honors at this year's Entrepreneurs Conference

Teenprenuers discover their passion for entrepreneurship at an early age and forge ahead full steam. This award recognizes entrepreneurs, age 19 or younger, committed to the tradition of Black business achievement.

  • AJ’s Hawaiian Iceez
  • Type of business: Flavor shaved ice cream and frozen desertsvendor
  • Co-Founder/CEO: Adam N. Holland
  • Co-Founder/COO: Jonathan K. Holland
  • Location: Brandywine, Maryland
  • www.ajsiceez.com

AJ’s Hawaiian Iceez is not your average frozen treats business. In fact, it’s run by two teenage brothers with a taste for expansion.

The Holland brothers, Adam, 15, CEO, and Jonathan, 14, COO, sell their deserts at public and private events from April to October. The Maryland-based company brought in $36,000 in 2010, propelled largely by the addition of custom trailer, which operates as a mobile unit. Last spring they also secured a contract with the US Department of Agriculture to service their weekly Farmer’s Market. The brothers have no plans to settle just yet, the two look to replicate their profitable business model through franchising.

How important is taking risk in what you do?
One huge risk we took last year was servicing Artscape in Baltimore. While the event has a history of vendor success, and a plethora of eager consumers; the vending fee was $2,500, there would be many competitors in attendance. After weighing the pros and cons we decided to pay the hefty vending fee and service the event. This turned out to be the right decision in that the payoff, as a result of that risk, was over $8,000 gross revenue.

We’ve seen a shift in technology and in the economic sphere over the past few years, how has this made you re-think the way you do business?
It has influenced us in evolving specific aspects of our company, namely branding. We now have a Facebook fan page that lets customers know where we will be serving our products, in addition to our website (www.ajsiceez.com). We offer specials to any person who goes to our fan page and tells us the flavor of the day. We also generated a Quick Response Code (Q.R. Code) and strategically placed it on our mobile trailer, to allow customers to scan the code, and to go to our Facebook fan page.

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