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6 Successful Start Ups Run by Black College Students

Fascinating companies started by the young African American community


More and more schools are creating accelerators, competitions, and classes designed to get student ideas off the ground.

As a result, students aren’t waiting to graduate to get started, they’re using their connections at school and the support they’re getting to create fascinating startups. We’ve collected 6 of our favorites.

1. Ataria NYC

Founded by Chinasa Nwokocha, Ataria NYC embodies all things chic. Nwokocha, now her own CEO and President, started the company while she was still an undergrad at Villanova University. Atari NYC started as a small graphic-tee company named Emoji Express. As Chinasa saw demand grow, she began to expand her brand by releasing full lines of African-inspired clothing.

2. Bahi Cosmetics

Danielle Bahi founded Bahi Cosmetics from the comfort of her dorm room. With broke college students as her primary customer base, Bahi wanted create a skincare product for customers looking for high quality at low prices. All of Bahi Cosmetics’ products including black soap, toner, and clay masks are cruelty-free and vegan. Bahi hopes to “create a new standard for the cosmetics industry” featuring all-natural, cruelty-free products.

3. Enbois by Maxim

Maxim Thuriere began beading in college as a creative outlet during college. Thurier has grown his hobby into a fruitful jewelry business named Enbois (French for “wood”) that is run locally out of South Florida. The company’s philanthropic mission is to help fight the deforestation in Haiti and provide eco-friendly education.  For every purchase at Enbois, the eco-friendly company will plant a tree in Haiti.


4. Scholly’s

Entrepreneur Christopher Gray’s mobile app, Scholly, got its big break on NBC’s Shark Tank. Gray grew up as a child of a single parent who struggled to afford education and obtain financial aid. After he was able to fund his own education by earning 1.3 million dollars in scholarships, Gray was inspired to help everyone have access to education. Scholly will use your one application to match you with multiple scholarship options in one place.

5. Kyra’s Shea Medleys

Kyra Nicole founded Shea Medleys to offer affordable beauty products to African-American girls living in college towns. Young explains that “[she] needed something that a student on a budget could appreciate, yet something that also simply gets the job done … thus ‘Kyra’s Shea Medleys’ was born.” Kyra’s Shea Medleys can be used as both a hair and skin treatment. The products are also all- natural, vegan, cruelty free, and part of every purchase goes to charity!

6. Vita Shoes

A Cornell student named Daniel Abaraoha founded his shoe company as a shoe-lover with a low budget. He hopes to provide quality, on trend shoes for broke college kids everywhere. Abaraoha is still an undergrad and an “Aspiring inspirer” who hopes to continue to build his affordable shoe line after college.


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