11 of the Best KC Black Entrepreneur Stories to Inspire You during Black Business Month and Beyond

Kansas City Black Entrepreneur Success Stories

11 of the Best KC Black Entrepreneur Stories to Inspire You during Black Business Month and Beyond

August is National Black Business Month. It’s a time to celebrate these companies that help drive our economy and enrich our communities.

According to the U.S. Census, there were more than 140,000 Black- or African American-owned businesses in the U.S. in 2020. Those ventures employed 1.3 million people and boasted annual sales of $141.1 billion. Now that’s something to celebrate!

In KC, we have a thriving community of Black founders and entrepreneurs. Here are just a few that KCSourceLink has featured recently. As you’re looking for more local, Black-owned enterprises to support, keep these superstars in mind. Peruse BuyKC.org and sort by the type of business in the KC metro that you’d like to support.

Christina Williams and Dr. Tamela Ross of The Blakk Co.

The Blakk Co.

Who says entrepreneurs are limited to just one business? Christina Williams and Dr. Tamela Ross both have their own ventures, but when they saw a need, they partnered to create The Blakk Co. This social club got up and running thanks to their vision and support from programs like The Black MasterMind Group. With guidance and a plan, this dynamic duo launched with intention and serves their community.


Godfrey Riddle of Civic Saint

Civic Saint

Godfrey Riddle reached a tipping point and decided life was too short after a life-threatening medical ordeal. He created Civic Saint to offer activist-minded clothing and accessories and help fund organizations that fight for racial and social equality. Programs like the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the ELEVATIONLAB™ NEW VENTURE course have empowered him to create the business he wanted and take control of his future.


Cupcake Joy

Baking had been a side hustle for Alisha Graham. But when she moved to Kansas City, she knew it was time to take it to the next level. With the help of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Kansas City, Alisha created Cupcake Joy. Because she had run all the numbers, she was able to jump at business opportunities just six weeks after she moved to KC. Now, Alisha’s sweet treats are all over town.


Deluxe Transportation Group

When Dion Dodson sold his six-figure lawn care business, he treated himself to a Cadillac Escalade. Soon, he recognized a business opportunity for high-end transportation. Dion reached out to the Missouri Small Business Development Center at University of Missouri – Kansas City and with expert guidance from the organization, he started Deluxe Transportation Group. Although he’d already founded a company, the Growth360 program helped Dion learn exactly how to scale his business.


Fresh Factory KC

India Wells-Carter was haunted by a business idea that just wouldn’t leave her alone. So she turned her idea for a selfie studio into a reality. Fresh Factory KC came to be thanks to India’s spirit and support from organizations like The Porter House KC. And jumping into the deep end of the pool at Global Entrepreneurship Week made a huge splash, too.


Gangsta Goodies Kitchen

Shelia Johnson has always considered it an honor to create food for family and friends. Now, she’s nourishing a much wider audience with her Gangsta Goodies Kitchen videos. Her digital talk show is just the start of Shelia’s culinary empire, which now includes recipe development for Allrecipes and e-cookbooks. Organizations like Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce helped her create a solid foundation so she can focus on what’s cooking.


Chris Goodwin of Insurance Pros

Insurance Pros

All Chris Goodwin needed to become a health insurance broker was a laptop. Thanks to years of hard work and personal connections, Insurance Pros grew. But when it came time to scale his venture, Chris wasn’t sure where to start. Learn how ScaleUP! Kansas City made all the difference and how the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (HEMP) is helping him take Insurance Pros to the next level.



Jonaie Johnson started her first business in elementary school. Now, as a recent University of Missouri – Kansas City graduate, she’s heading startup Interplay. While the road to developing her interactive dog crate has been full of surprises, Jonaie is taking it in stride — and learning along the way. She’s pitched Digital Sandbox KC, graduated from Pipeline Pathfinder and worked with the Center for Black Innovation, finding opportunity wherever she goes.


Love is Key Food and Dessert Innovation

Tameisha and Cameron Martin wanted to do more than own a business. They also wanted to make a real difference in their community. Now, Love is Key is helping them break the cycle of poverty within their own family, provide employment for those in need and go the extra mile with programs like toy drives. They’re focused on the joy of business and community building.


Open Minds Child Development Center

AbdulRasak and Alicia Yahaya dreamed of opening an early childhood education center. After years of planning, saving and fundraising, they created Open Minds Child Development Center. The business grew quickly and now has two locations. Advisors at the Kansas Small Business Development Center at Johnson County Community College have helped the couple, and their entrepreneurship has had a ripple effect. Now, several family members have started businesses, too.



A global pandemic doesn’t seem like the obvious time to expand a business. But that’s just what Isaac Lee Collins did with Yogurtini. Thanks to support from the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City and AltCap, he and his wife Rachel added another location. Thinking outside the box and staying nimble has helped serial entrepreneur Isaac develop his people, his business and his vision for the future.

Build your Kansas City business

No matter the time of year, the KC entrepreneurial ecosystem is here to support you and help you meet your business goals. Some organizations specialize in working with and funding minority entrepreneurs. And the small business community is often identifying ways to empower entrepreneurs. For example, here are ways to support Black women in tech.

When you’re looking for community, guidance or funding, make the KCSourceLink Resource Navigator your first stop. This database to end all databases lists more than 240 local Resource Partners that are ready to guide your entrepreneurial journey.

And if you’re still now sure which way is up, KCSourceLink’s Network Navigators are here to help. Just answer a few questions, and they’ll create a free Personal Action Plan. It’s an individualized checklist of what to do and who to meet to start making your business goals a reality.

Share this post