Non traditional, Black, Business

3 Black Business Leaders Paving The Way In Non-Traditional Industries

Black businesses have been booming in recent years. The coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the focus on Black equity have led thousands of Black men and women across America to become bosses.

And according to Forbes, Black entrepreneurship continues to rise post-pandemic. The number of new Black business owners has risen 38%, while 17% of Black women are in the process of launching or already running a new business. 

While many Black business owners are thriving in traditional occupations such as retail, food, fashion, and entertainment, some Black entrepreneurs have found success in nontraditional roles. Here are three Black entrepreneurs who have chosen different paths as business owners.

Jairus Morris, SUPLMNT


In 2018, Jairus Morris was selling items on Amazon when he noticed a company on the site that was selling thousands of water bottles he’d never heard of. When he asked his friends if they had ever heard of the brand, “pretty much every single person that was Black or Latino that I knew told me they never heard of this brand,” he recalls.

Morris did some research, checking the backgrounds of several water bottle companies, and realized that none of them specifically targeted the urban culture.

“There’s a huge demographic of people that are kind of left out when you bring up insulated water bottles, so getting into another niche that no one else is in is refreshing,” Morris says. “I would see so many white people carrying their YETIs and their insulated bottles, and all the Black people using plastic cups or plastic water bottles—and it’s primarily because there isn’t a brand that targets us.”


Morris saw a business opportunity and in 2021 created SUPLMNT, an insulated water bottle geared toward urban communities. SUPLMNT features a number of infused water bottles and tumblers with thick stainless steel and double-wall vacuum insulation to keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. It also offers accessories and clothing to support the brand.

For Morris, SUPLMNT isn’t all about making money. He’s using the brand to teach Black and Latino people the importance of regular hydration.

“You know water is the body’s most important supplement, so that’s why I created the name SUPLMNT,” Morris tells BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I wanted to make sure we create a super-dope aesthetic and an aesthetically pleasing bottle that matches your outfit, but there’s that underlying messaging behind the entire brand, which is the importance of drinking water and staying hydrated in our urban communities.”

Monica Miraglilo, GirlBuild


Temple alum Monica Miraglilo is on a mission to empower girls and women by giving them the knowledge and tools to build their own homes through GirlBuild, an initiative for women interested in the renovation and construction industries.

Through workshops, private sessions, a master class, and a podcast, Miraglilo teaches the ins and outs of construction and home renovation, including HVAC, hanging drywall, and plumbing.

“I started GirlBuild so I can empower women and give them the tools to build whatever they want,” Miraglilo tells BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I thought it was necessary; I felt like we are a very small percentage of the construction industry. But if you give us the tools, we can build anything. Because, like I say all the time, women are the backbone of building everything. We build family and relationships, so what better way than to build each other up?”

Less than 20% of women are in the construction industry, but Miraglilo, a former model, is changing that by teaching women and girls the skills that will give them a lifetime of knowledge. GirlBuild’s huge fanbase also includes fathers and grandfathers who love what Miraglilo is doing for their daughters and granddaughters.

GirlBuild is just getting started. Its plans include working with organizations and charities that give back to underprivileged women who need housing. Miraglilo is also considering a series of conferences and different cities GirlBuild can tap into to continue teaching young girls and women to build homes—and to feel accomplished and confident in themselves.

“GirlBuild is going to help you, shape you, and build you from the inside out, and we’re looking forward to holding conferences on our website,” Miraglilo says. “We’re working on bringing in different partners that are going to teach literacy, banking, how to apply for a loan, and dive into shaping their minds so they’re prepared.”


Derrick Miles, CourMed

Former healthcare executive Derrick Miles took a severance package during the 2008 housing crisis and in 2015 started CourMed, a healthcare solutions company providing enterprise software and innovative concierge delivery (crowdsourced, route, drone, and autonomous vehicle) services from healthcare providers to patients’ homes and offices.

CourMed exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, partnering with Microsoft and Google as telehealth became popular.

Miles tells BLACK ENTERPRISE that being a Black man in the wellness space, he’s had his fair share of strange looks when meeting other executives and industry heads.

“That’s what amazed me more than anything, because of my background as a former healthcare executive, but still I’ve seen people look at me as if I don’t know what I’m talking about,” Miles admits. “When we started, most people looked at us like we had three heads, but we found our niche with individuals who wanted a competitive advantage and who wanted to save time.”

During the pandemic, CourMed was a valued service for many, including immunocompromised people who didn’t want to go to a hospital or pharmacy to get tested for COVID-19.

With the worst days of pandemic hopefully behind us, neither CourMed nor Miles is ready to slow down.

What we’re currently doing now is working with affluent individuals to help them get services in the comfort of their home,” says Miles. “What I’m excited about is a new vertical called Aging Well at Home. My parents are getting older, and I hated the experience when my grandparents went to nursing homes. So with CourMed, now individuals north of 70 can get their wellness and healthcare at home; they don’t have to go to a nursing home.”

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