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Rock It Lab sparks Flamin’ Grill

The Rock It! Lab is helping launch businesses all over town. The newest, Chicago Flamin’ Grill Express opened on April 30 to a welcoming crowd. For those not familiar, the Rock It! Lab (RIL) is a partnership between CALS and Advancing Black Entrepreneurship (ABE) that helps potential entrepreneurs who have previously been underserved, including minorities,


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Sylvia Brown of Thought Leaders & Action Partners Ltd.

What inspired you to start your entrepreneurial journey, and how do you hope your work will impact women’s lives or the broader community?

The fields in which I thrive are community engagement and public policy. In the aftermath of COVID-19 the conditions surfaced created a confluence of opportunities to use my lived experiences,


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Tiffany Thomas of TMT’s Sweet n’ Treats

My inspiration comes from my experience in the kitchen. I got my start at cooking and baking at a young age, as I used to help my mom and grandmother. Cooking and baking has always been a passion since then. I hope to inspire other women by showing that no matter how different a business idea may be,


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Whitney Easterling of Guidelines By WhitneyE

What inspired you to start your entrepreneurial journey, and how do you hope your work will impact women’s lives or the broader community?

As a child, I faced significant bullying due to my struggle with my hair. This experience led me to create The Guideline By WhitneyE, with the aim of ensuring that women dealing with hair loss never feel embarrassed,


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Denisha Cotton of The Vegan Hero

My decision to become an entrepreneur stems from a reflective personal journey. After losing my father and brother to health-related issues, I embarked on a mission to transform my lifestyle and find a greater purpose. Inspired by my newfound passion for veganism and a desire to create healthier alternatives to the dishes I grew up with,


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Kristin Stroh of Long Dog Art

What inspired you to start your entrepreneurial journey, and how do you hope your work will impact women’s lives or the broader community?

The vision of my entrepreneurial journey comes from a belief in the power of wearable art to bring joy to people’s lives. I hope to inspire women by fostering a sense of empowerment and confidence through self-expression.


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Tenacity is the name of the game for Hezekiah Pierce

A call to book a lawn appointment with Hezekiah Pierce is more than yard service. For Pierce, being amidst fresh air is conducive to doing God’s work. Tending to nature, God’s gift to humans, is a work that Pierce finds ultra-satisfying and noble.

Being free in nature has not always been the story behind this man,


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Entrepreneurship, the unlikely path that Vivian Brittenum found herself on.

Vivian Brittenum is a small business owner by accident. Although her path to entrepreneurship was never planned, it is certain, solid, and real. Brittenum never imagined she would one day call herself an entrepreneur, yet while engaging in visioning exercises through the Rock It! Lab, a notion became her reality.

Today,


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The River Shop is home for Nicole Janae

The River Shop serves for some as a soft entry into retail and direct to consumer markets. Housed inside of the former Cox Building in The River Market district, The Rock It! Lab, cohort participants benefit by understanding the true retailer experience.  Using nationally recognized curriculum and ultra-valuable, first-hand experiences from Rock It!


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Adrianna J. Jones Speaks, LLC

For Adrianna Jones, the spark happened in a most unexpected way. Approaching 30 and experiencing feelings of incompleteness and wonder, she knew there was more – an addition to the already good work she’d done as a master’s level, professional social worker. She’d dealt with people and behaviors, yet she hadn’t quite put in the time to dial into her own thoughts about why she felt slightly unfulfilled.


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