Since 2004, August has been recognized as National Black Business Month — a time to support the roughly 2 million Black-owned businesses in the United States. In Indianapolis, Black entrepreneurs have added their talents to the food, beauty and health care industry, among others.
When many business owners were closing their doors in the early days of the pandemic, Tynnetta Muhammad was just opening hers. Tynnetta Sells – Healthy Eats, a catering and meal prep company, opened in the summer of 2020. Though difficult at first, Muhammad depended on her family — especially her husband, Van — and friends to spread the word about her business. Now, she’s providing various sports teams at Butler University with healthy, homecooked meals, and her client list keeps growing.
While the former Indianapolis Public Schools teacher has always been passionate about cooking, the pandemic and working from home gave her the opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen. There, she realized she could help others have a balanced, healthy diet.
“Many of my customers have a full work schedule, and they found themselves eating out a lot, gaining weight and not really paying attention to what they were putting in their bodies,” Muhammad said. “With my website, they can order food that’s prepared ahead of time and customize what they want.”
Muhammad doesn’t fry any of her food and avoids serving foods high in fat or preservatives, and she makes most of it from scratch.
“Food can either heal you or kill you,” Muhammad said. “The purpose of my food, and my business, is to keep you healthy.”
Health and wellness are a focus of many Black-owned businesses in Indianapolis. Black entrepreneurs such as Victoria Davis are leading the way in health care.
Faith Healthcare Training, founded by Davis, offers aspiring nursing assistants a five-week program to achieve their goals. Davis said the program instills the value of service, compassion and accountability to help future certified nursing assistants prioritize the wellness of their patients.
The wellness of her customers is also top of mind for Mia White, who owns So FIYAH LLC. The inspiration for the skin care company stemmed from White’s daughter’s struggle with eczema. No products White tried gave her daughter any relief, so she started researching and experimenting with making products of her own. She began making body butters and creams and said she found her passion.
“It changed my whole world,” White said. “And in our household, it dramatically changed my daughter’s skin. She would get rashes and sores, and she doesn’t get any of that anymore, and there’s a lot of people with similar testimonies to my soap and body butter.”
White ships anywhere from 300 to 500 products a month, and her artisan soaps and creams have been sent all over the United States and various countries. The full-time entrepreneur hopes to expand her business to include employees.
Support within the Black community for Black-owned businesses is strong, White said. However, more needs to be done to help Black entrepreneurs thrive in the business world at large.
“As my business has grown, I’ve come into contact with a lot of other Black business owners,” White said. “There’s a lot of support within. A lot. But it’s a little harder to break into the outside community. We need that support.”
Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.