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Two Food Connoisseurs Share How Memphis Is More Than Just BBQ

Lisa Brown and Cristina McCarter have given the phrase “Walking in Memphis” a brand-new meaning. As the co-creators of City Tasting Box , they’ve made it possible for anyone to take a walk through the streets of Memphis and experience the beauty of its cuisine. City Tasting Box is a curated collection of food and related items packaged and sourced in Memphis. City Tasting Box formed during a phone call between the two owners. McCarter was running a successful culinary tour company, which was indefinitely halted by the economic downturn during the pandemic. Needing to pivot from the food tourism industry, McCarter told Brown about the idea for the box, and the rest is history. “It started out as, like, a bag, and then we moved it to this cool mailer box,” says McCarter. Evolving into the box was not a happenstance. McCarter and Brown attribute parts of their success to strategic partnerships. “Epicenter has been pivotal in helping us really get set up and really mobilize,” says...

Jul 22, 2021

All Black Everything: Not Your Average Cup Of Cxffee

No sugar. No cream. Just coffee. This is the mantra that Bartholomew Jones and his wife, Renata Henderson, use as the nexus of their company, Cxffeeblack. And they’re serving up more than just coffee to the people of Memphis, TN. Their goal is to reclaim the Black history of coffee while using Black culture to reclaim its Black future. Hip-hop is a major part of this reclamation. While many independent hip-hop artists don’t have full teams and robust offerings, it does not take away from the depth of what they contribute to the art itself. Bartholomew is an independent artist, and he’s approached Cxffeeblack the same way he approaches his art. “We were around for a year without any coffee. We were selling the history and the culture and our perspective on how that culture could look in Black communities before we ever got into selling coffee itself,” he says. Cxffeeblack found an opportunity to grow in a city undergoing its own evolution. “Memphis is such a beautiful space. There...

Jul 21, 2021

We Are Memphis: 'If You Come Here, And You’re Ready To Work, Memphis Will Work For You'

Don’t sleep on Memphis. If you’re not paying attention, you could miss the hottest ticket coming out of the South right now. Memphis, Tennessee, is home to a thriving, emergent tech scene. Many businesses, especially those helmed by women and business owners of color, are making their mark there. And the support provided by the entrepreneur hub Epicenter is helping them make that happen. As an anchor for WMC Action News 5, Kontji Anthony is living proof that if you have a great idea, all you need is the right network to get it off the ground. She found that in Epicenter, which connects emergent entrepreneurs to community and capital. In 2020, Anthony launched a Facebook group, Product Sightings, with her sisters after noticing an immediate need in a new, pandemic-ravaged reality. Supply chains were breaking down, and people were going without desperately needed items during the lockdown. This is how the idea for their app, also called Product Sightings , was born. “This whole...

Jul 7, 2021

How Two Organizations Are Addressing the Race Gap in Tech and Business in Memphis

“We Don’t Bluff!” Memphis, Tenneessee, colloquially known as the Bluff City, plays no games about building its entrepreneurial base. It’s becoming a true hub for tech and innovation, and it’s addressing the racial opportunity gap among tech gurus and business owners. As the city proactively underscores the need for equity in all spaces, Memphis is creating a national standard for other cities to emulate as it works to be more diverse and inclusive in tech and business communities. It’s no secret that there’s a racial disparity in these industries. However, Memphis is ahead of the game with 37% of tech-related jobs being held by Black or Hispanic individuals, compared to only 17% in the nation. Among competing metropolitan areas, Memphis is ranked number one in Black tech talent. The growing diversity in the tech and business industry is a result of  building strong networks and cultivating tech and business ecosystems that are pivotal for continued growth and development among...

Jul 2, 2021

How Memphis Is Closing the Gap to Generational Wealth

The year is 2000. Behind a heavy, string-filled Southern rap instrumental, you hear the emphatic yell: “Who run it?” Fast forward 21 years, and the equally emphatic answer is Black entrepreneurs! From an emerging technology base to an established market for creatives and artists, Memphis is a haven for Black entrepreneurship and innovation. Named 2021’s Best City for Black-Owned Businesses , it’s poised for significant market growth as communities and families continue to build on its strong legacy. Epicenter is at the forefront of this entrepreneurial emergence, making sure Memphis can maintain its “Best Of” status and position business owners to have the proper capital and resources necessary for sustainability and growth. The organization is building an entrepreneurial nexus that connects business owners to capital, education and training, and a myriad of other support services that will allow them to grow and establish generation wealth. “Epicenter is really upfront about the...

Jun 21, 2021

An Inside Look: See How The Culture of Memphis Reigns Supreme For These Black Entrepreneurs

Hip hop, social justice, soul music, soul food – the city of Memphis is a cultural mecca of the South with good reason. But, it wouldn’t be known for what it is today without the people who reside there. We want to make it known that the entrepreneur ecosystem is prospering and entrepreneurs like Princeton James and Cynthia Daniels are two prime examples of why its influence reigns supreme. From having a bustling technology scene, to a market for artists and craftsmen, the city is a Black mecca for up-and-coming or established doers, makers and dreamers. James is the founder of a production company, Princeton James Productions and Daniels is the founder of a full-service event planning company, Cynthia Daniels & Co. Both entrepreneurs spoke with AfroTech to provide an inside look on how Memphis’ unique soul, culture and influence has boosted the credibility of their business and assisted their entrepreneurial journey. AfroTech: Tell me about your entrepreneurial experience. James:...

Oct 26, 2020

From The Corporate World to Creative Entrepreneurship: 3 Memphis Creators Share Their Story

They are paving the way for up-and-coming businesses in Memphis From the jewelry industry to branding and web consultancy, Black innovators are changing the face of entrepreneurship one idea at a time in Memphis. Meet the established innovators who are setting a foundation by inspiring start-up founders to be bold and brave in making their dreams come true. David Quarles, founder of Ivy , jewelry designer and interior stylist Larry Robinson, founder of Kudzukian Media and a media maven Dana James Mwangi, founder of Cheers Creative , brand and web strategist With the support of their community, these three founders are proof of the thriving Black entrepreneurial ecosystem that is burgeoning in Memphis. The founders spoke with AfroTech about how the Southern city has supported their big city dreams as creative entrepreneurs. Photo: David Quarles/Jarvis Hughes AfroTech: When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Quarles: Since high school, I’ve pretty much had a knack for...

Oct 22, 2020

Learn Why Memphis is The Hot Spot Right Now To Start A Business

3 Black entrepreneurs share their stories and tips on how to thrive in the historic city Black entrepreneurs are vital to the city of Memphis. The city is overflowing with Black talent and their impact is making the area the new hotspot for innovative creators. From the people to the legacy to the culture, the “Memphis is continuously proving why it reigns supreme in the entrepreneurial arena. The southern city is home to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, world-class institutions and it is the largest logistics hub in the country. With Black residents accounting for 63 percent of the city’s population, there’s no better time for Black creators and entrepreneurs to shape Memphis’ identity as a global brand for generations to come. Entrepreneurs like Madeline Lyles and Dana Taylor, founders of After Life Mortuary Services and Darrell Cobbins, founder of Universal Commercial Real Estate are prime examples of why Memphis is the perfect place for Black business owners to call the city...

Sep 29, 2020

Black Silicon Valley: How The City of Memphis Is Becoming A Hotspot for Black Tech Innovators

The city of Memphis is growing into a hotspot for Black entrepreneurs and tech talent with the assistance of innovative organization, Epicenter. This nonprofit is helping Memphis create and sustain an entrepreneurial ecosystem by investing and providing resources for Black tech startups. The current goal is to raise $100 million to fuel the future of the city, which is attracting Black tech talent in various industries across the world. Through its numerous programs, Black innovators are thriving and excelling from the plethora of opportunities the city has to offer.   Programs include: The 800 Initiative Propel Minority Business Accelerator CO.STARTERS ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator The Patents to Products Fellowship Programming for early and growth-stage tech startups in logistics and construction technologies Epicenter’s capital executive-in-residence, Anthony Young and program manager of ZeroTo510, Danielle Gore spoke with AfroTech about why Memphis is the ideal place for...

Sep 15, 2020

How The City of Memphis’ Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Is Helping Black Women's Businesses Thrive

For countless years, Black women have had to justify their need for support and respect in seemingly every area of their lives, including their business endeavors. According to recent reports, while women of color opened more businesses in 2019 than any other demographic, they are still historically underfunded — receiving less than one percent of venture capital funding. Recognizing the severity and far-reaching consequences of this disadvantage early on, the city of Memphis set out to level the economic landscape through several key initiatives, including, Epicenter: a non profit organization supporting entrepreneurs and creators in the greater Memphis area. With support, equitable access to networks, capital and more, this organization is helping Black women succeed and thrive in the city of Memphis in exceptional ways. And they’re already beginning to see the fruits of their labor; according to the Epicenter 2019 Impact report , Venture Capital Investment Distribution from...

Sep 10, 2020

How Memphis is Becoming the Top Market for Black Entrepreneurs

Memphis is laying the foundation for how other cities across the country should support Black entrepreneurs and businesses. The pathway to entrepreneurship in the city is paved with an ecosystem of opportunity, resources, and programs, unlike any other in the nation. It is home to nonprofit organization Epicenter , which is on a mission to raise $100 million to help innovators, Black tech entrepreneurs and professionals thrive in their respective industries. Through a combination of programs such as The 800 Initiative , The Summer of Acceleration, Propel , and CO.STARTERS , Epicenter is building the ultimate entrepreneurial landscape for Black founders. The city is keeping business owners at the center of the action by providing resources, spaces to build their companies and capital to fuel their growth. AfroTech spoke with leaders in Memphis to talk about how their economic ecosystem is changing the faces of entrepreneurs to look more like the residents who reside there. Photo...

Aug 11, 2020