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Female founders share challenges and success of entrepreneurship

by Johari Hamilton


On Nov. 19, Epicenter, in partnership with Kudzukian Network, hosted the Grindset Live podcast featuring women of color entrepreneurs. The event raised awareness on five women who have boldly stepped onto the entrepreneurial stage here in Memphis. This was also held during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), which was celebrated internationally, nationally and locally.


The podcast featured Nubian Simmons, founder of the Pink Bakery, Dr. Dena Granger, founder of The Chiro Place, Attorney Carlee McCullough, Dana Mwangi, founder of Cheers Creative and Kayla Graff, co-founder of Sweet Bio.


Cynthia Daniels and William Brack hosted the live podcast.

William Brack and Cynthia Daniels - Photo Credit Johari Hamilton

“What are you selling,” was the question former graphic designer, Nubian Simmons asked herself before making her move into business. Simmons, an inspired baker and founder of the Pink Bakery has gained ground as “TN’s 1st Big 8 Allergen Free Bakery”. 


“I have learned to create on a new medium using a completely unfamiliar set of tools. The baking work space is so different from the digital work space. Allergen free baking, is a unique art form and is so precise. It is not for the faint of heart. I am determined to give my fellow allergen community members all of the baked goods (within my ability), a traditional bakery has to offer. I really enjoyed creating clean and classic design pieces in my previous role, and I am now bringing that beauty to my desserts," said Simmons.


Women of color are breaking down barriers in male dominated businesses.

Dr. Granger shared the importance of meeting people where they are. 


“I have learned so much stepping into a male dominant profession as a women of color entrepreneur. It has taught me to walk with pride and lead with purpose, trusting God in all steps. This experience to say the least has been exhilarating in my purpose and mentorship of showing other women the possibilities all while impacting my community with true health and wellness,” stated Granger.


Balancing family can be difficult for women entrepreneurs. 


Dana James Mwangi, founder of Cheers Creative, discovered that her desire to spend time with her family inspires her ability to innovate.


“Starting a business by doing what I love was one of the best decisions I made for my family. The older my children get, the more my husband and I want to spend time with them. This causes me to get creative with ways to scale my services. Motherhood feeds into entrepreneurship. For me, it has become a cycle of one improving the other," said Mwangi.


The event culminated with an engaging panel discussion where the women shared their knowledge along with the grit, grind, and grace that it takes to be a woman of color entrepreneur. 


Pictured:Dr. Dena Granger, Dana Mwangi, Carlee McCullough, Nubian Simmons and Kayla Graff



To learn more about Epicenter, visit the website @ epicentermemphis.org.

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