Starting and growing a business is hard, but often deciding to start the business in the first place is even harder. We asked some successful entrepreneurs from around the community to open up to us about how they thought about starting a business.

Lisa Jasper | Co-Founder and CEO of Thought Ensemble

In 2008, the technology landscape was a little different than it is today. Most companies were looking at technology and IT resources as costs to reduce, but we saw an opportunity for executives to lean into the uncertainty and leverage technology as a competitive strategy. Having spent the bulk of our careers in the consulting industry, we saw an opportunity to operate differently as a firm — through genuine collaboration. Read more>>

Cedric Lipsey | Founder & CEO

Being an entrepreneur has always been in my blood. Growing up in the deep and rural south, the social and economic challenges I witnessed reinforced in my mind that the best way for me to make a difference was to strike out on my own and in my own way. After a few failures and some limited success, I discovered a need in the market for equal access to the high-ticket (read: expensive) services that we all need and/or want but not all of us can easily pay for. Read more>>

Lauren Hanley | Owner, Orange Moss Creative

I originally started my own business for two reasons. The first reason was freedom to work hours that may be unconventional in a more corporate environment (this was due to having a young family and wanting to have more control over my time with them). The second reason was after 10+ years in my industry I had figured out what works well and what doesn’t as a creative process for my branding and website design projects. Owning my own business gave me the authority to implement those processes and also to choose the clients who I thought would respect those processes. Read more>>

Joi Nicole | Blush Boutique Founder/Owner

“I was motivated to be different, because I was different.” – Donna Brazile
​ Blush by Joi Nicole, or BBJN, was established in 2010 by me, Joi Nicole. Five years ago I started making my own jewelry. I began doing so, mainly because I wanted accessories that incorporated my unique sense of style, and that ultimately reflected who I am, inside and out; a west-coast girl, with an east coast attitude. Read more>>