Celebrating Blossoming Black Businesses in Minnesota

Throughout February, we celebrated Blossoming Black Business in Minnesota that are bringing joy, connection and education to our communities! These 2-5 year old businesses have been growing and blossoming over the past year and have some great things in store for 2024, meet them below:

Flava Cafe

Who is Flava Cafe? Flava Cafe was founded by Shaunie Grigsby and is a social enterprise community cafe and coffee shop located in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood. We are committed to creating economic opportunity for young women of color and gender expansive youth one latte at a time. We are also cultivating a cafe/coffee shop culture that centers connection, intersectionality and imagination.

How has your business blossomed over the past year? In the past 12 months, Flava has increased its customer base and demographic. As well as formed new partnerships with like-minded organizations that includes the arts, literacy, mentorship and so much more. We’ve added event rentals and catering to our services, which brought in a new revenue stream for us. We have also generously given to our local non profit organizations through in-kind donations of space, coffee, gift cards, branded apparel, and clothing drives for back-to-school.

What can we expect from Flava Cafe in 2024? In 2024, we hope to scale the current service offerings as well as move into hosting events, creating opportunities for formal mentorship with Flava youth staff,  and launching a micro grant fund to support their ambitions as well as to develop a model of self-care that ensures the sustainability of not only the cafe, but the people who care for and work in the space.

Check out Flava Cafe’s mission, menu and merch at flavacafe.org

ASCEND Entertainment Productions

Who is ASCEND Entertainment Productions? ASCEND Entertainment Productions was founded by Anthony DuBose and is a High End DJ & Video Production company. Our event types range from weddings to corporate events to school and sporting events to clubs, holidays,  and birthdays! 

Our overall goal is to curate an appropriate soundtrack for any event type, quality customer service, plus, a deeper than surface experience for each client and guest

How has your business blossomed over the past year?What’s happened over the last 12 months has been more of a “value” blossom. Doing about the same number of events in 2022 and 2023, except more, higher-end events. Overall, new clients have included: the Minnesota Vikings, Target Corp, Mall of America, MN Black Chamber of Commerce, Epilepsy Foundation MN among other corporations, schools and community organizations around the Twin Cities. It’s been great growing the ASCEND name in the Wedding world instead of just my personal name of 14 years. So, as my client list grows and requests for services grow, I’m looking to build the infrastructure to support it, beyond just me wearing 10 different hats.

What can we expect from ASCEND Entertainment Productions in 2024? At minimum, more consistency of high quality DJing, no matter what room I’m in. But this year, I’m hoping to finally expand services, as well as beginning to divide work flow amongst several others in the ASCEND company. Right now, ASCEND offers DJing services, some video production services, streaming, uplighting, plus add-ons such as karaoke & video mixing. However, I’m looking forward to adding on other components, such as a fog machine, a cloud machine, 360 photo booth, silent headphones and more, in order to accommodate the wide variety of clients that request services. 

 Learn more about ASCEND’s journey and services at ascendentertainmentproductions.com

Village Support Therapy

Who is Village Support Therapy? Village Support Therapy and Consulting was founded by Ebony Eromobor and is a group private mental health practice specializing in culturally specific mental health services. We have a focus in the black community across the diaspora. 

In addition to providing direct service, we also have a pathway program that focuses on increasing representation in the mental health industry in Minnesota. Through the pathway program we provide clinical trainee opportunities, including internships, fellowships and licensing supervision.

How has your business blossomed over the past year? Last year, we grew from a team of 3 to a team of 8 and had to move to a bigger office to accommodate our team. We previously had a single office that our smaller team used on a rotation but we now have an office suite with 5 offices in Brooklyn Park that we moved into in June 2023. We were also able to grow our internship program. Prior years we were only able to accept 1 intern per year but this year we were able to take on 2 and were able to increase the yearly stipend for our internship. As a result of having a larger team, we’ve been able to increase the number of people we are able to serve. Also, the practice was highlighted on the local news this month, which is a goal that I have had. (Check out the feature!

What can we expect from Village Support Therapy in 2024? This year we are focused on expanding our programming. We currently just offer mental health therapy. Village Support Therapy and Consulting is currently going through the process to add ARMHS (Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services) this year. We will also continue expanding our pathway program. We were previously a certified internship option for two MSW programs at local universities, but we are now a certified internship option for five MSW programs at local universities, which expands our reach.

Check out all that Village Support Therapy & Counseling has to offer at villagesupporttherapy.com

Sweet Heaven by Nne

Who is Sweet Heaven by Nne? I provide cake design services for weddings and other special occasions. I support strong relationships by building and maintaining human connections; utilizing cake decorating as the catalyst. I also curate special classes for everyone- individuals, groups, and organizations!

How has your business blossomed over the past year? I have been able to collaborate with several businesses and organizations and have created beautiful pieces of edible art that have brought smiles and joy to many. I participated in my first large scale wedding exhibitions here in Minneapolis. I partnered with MN Black Box and many more black businesses.

What can we expect from Sweet Heaven by Nne in 2024? Some exciting new products and classes. I am also looking forward to establishing a program focused on restoring hope and joy for young Black and brown boys, by teaching them to bake. I also hope to teach cake decorating as a skill acquisition that can support earning a living by creating income.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with Sweet Heaven by Nne at sweetheavenbynne.com

Jessica Horton Coaching + Consulting

Who is Jessica Horton Coaching + Consulting? I am a certified Well-being + Life Coach Practitioner. I help working mamas reprioritize their lives and show up as their best selves every day. My approach is rooted in core values work. 

I believe in order to create a sustainable change, we must first become aware of how we are reacting to self, others and the world around us.

How has your business blossomed over the past year? Over the last year, I’ve brought on new clients as well as partnered with Finnovation Lab to become one of their contracted coaches for their fellowship program. I am also finishing up an online course that will be launched in Q2 all about discovering your core values to find alignment in your personal and professional life. 

What can we expect from Jessica Horton Coaching + Consulting in 2024? Jessica Horton Coaching + Consulting is launching an online course in Q2 all about discovering your core values to find alignment in your personal and professional life. I am also in the process of developing a group coaching program to accompany this course. I am continuing my partnership with Finnovation Lab with their 6th co-hort as well as exploring other opportunities to partner with organizations that support and amplify social impact businesses.

Check out Jessica’s array of support options for business and personal growth at jessicahortoncoaching.com

Technologist Computers

Who is Technologist Computers? Technologist Computers is a social enterprise. We believe in technology that is accessible and affordable to everyone. We are a B Corporation technology company that aims to balance profit and purpose. We sell technical support, computers, & cybersecurity services. A part of the profit generated by the company is reinvested back into the community.

How has your business blossomed over the past year? In the past 12 months, we became partners with Hennepin County to provide digital navigation services.  Our CEO was appointed to the Governor’s Taskforce on Broadband, also known as the Black Broadband Coalition,  an alliance formed to help and empower communities of color by providing proper tools, better internet service and good quality customer service. We also did the  2nd Annual Black Broadband Summit that discussed community solutions to the digital divide. 

What can we expect from Technologist Computers in 2024? My company’s goal for this year is to hire more web and app developers and get our apprenticeship program off the ground. We will have our Virtual Chief Technologist Officer (VCTO) program developed and have 25 consultants of color enrolled. In this way, we will be able to provide small to medium sized business owners access to affordable and reasonably priced Virtual Chief Technology Officers as on-call consultants to provide technical strategy, guidance and leadership to keep their IT costs in check, and develop synergies between technology, internal processes and business objectives.

Get connected with Technologist Computers and learn more at technologist.computer

Victory Business Solutions

Who is Victory Business Solutions? Victory Business Solutions  provides hands-on education and assistance and our services include tax preparation, payroll, bookkeeping, business consulting and tax corrections. 

We primarily work with women-owned and BIPOC small businesses that are overcoming the barriers that they were unaware of when first starting their business. We also provide free tax preparation for low income individuals and a summer cohort for small businesses

How has your business blossomed over the past year? Since opening in 2020 we have seen significant growth with 198% from 2022 to 2023. We went from only servicing only 10 clients to over 300 business owners throughout the year. As of today, we are partnered with Sola Salons, the Lake Street Council, lawyers at Fredrikson and Byron,  numerous financial advisors at Northwestern Mutual and US Bank, will be working with Chase to teach at business workshops and currently have other partnerships in the works.

What can we expect from Victory Business Solutions in 2024?This year we are working on contracts with local non-profits and will soon become one of the first accounting firm vendors through the city of Minneapolis. We are also currently working with the U of M and Rutgers university on a program for helping small businesses regain and stay compliant with state laws.

Check out their services for tax season or just see what all Victory has to offer at victorybusinesssolutions.org

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Help Us Reach Our $10,000 Give to the Max Day Donation Goal!

Join us for #GivetotheMaxDay this year as we gear up to provide more funding, programming and resources for the local entrepreneurs that bring life to Minnesota with their unique small businesses.