Few small business owners managed to exceed expectations during the recession and subsequent recovery this past year. Of the intrepid group who did, we’ve chosen our 2010 Black Enterprise Small Business Award nominees. Now we need your help in determining the winners. Vote for the companies you think most deserve the recognition. Online votes will contribute to a portion of the scoring; final selections will be made by the editorial committee of BLACK ENTERPRISE. Exemplifying entrepreneurs who demonstrate viability regardless of circumstance, the winners will be announced at the 15th annual Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo, May 16–18 in Atlanta.
Amiya’s Mobile Dance Academy
Type of business: Mobile dance studio for children
Founder/CEO: Amiya Alexander
Amiya Alexander delivers dance lessons on wheels. With her mother’s help, the 11-year-old transformed a used bus into a working dance studio and devised a business plan to offer lessons in ballet, tap, jazz, salsa, and hip-hop to youngsters age 2–12 that are accessible by bus. The mobile studio generated more than $10,000 in revenues this past year. Amiya came up with the idea for the academy after a dream one night. In addition to hosting mobile birthday parties, she teaches the students herself over a 12-week period.
School Me Clothing
Type of business: Apparel
Location: Maybee, MI
School Me Clothing was born when Tevyn Cole was just 10 years old. Offering a clothing line made up of graphic T-shirts, jeans, and the like, the company puts an educational spin on urban wear by incorporating black history facts in the design. Today, Cole, now 17, is an early entrance college student at Eastern Michigan University (pursuing a double major in international business and Japanese); however, he remains committed to the business. In 2009, revenues were $1,700, up from $1,300 for 2008. Assisted by his mother and cousin, Cole balances his life as a college student and business owner.
Crumbs by Gabrielle
Type of business: Baked goods
Founder/CEO: Gabrielle McBay
Location: DeSoto, TX
As a high school senior, Gabrielle McBay balances study and baking. She started Crumbs by Gabrielle in 2006 to offer an assortment of cookies and other baked goods to primarily local clients and customers, although the 18-year-old has also filled orders in California, Maryland, and New York. This past year the company generated $5,000 in revenues, double the 2008 figures. McBay bakes after school at home or, for large orders, at a professional kitchen. To help meet demand, McBay often enlists her two best friends; her twin sister handles public relations. An honor student, McBay plans to attend college in the fall to study business and marketing with a specialization in entrepreneurship.
Click here to cast your vote for the Black Enterprise 2010 Teenpreneur Award!