Today we’d like to introduce you to Asheli Atkins.
Asheli, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
While working as a Program Coordinator at Prairie View A&M University, I decided to work on my MBA. At the time, I thought I was simply interested in being a business owner but after completing the program I realized I was much more interested in researching businesses. Specifically, minority-owned businesses because social concepts like gender, race & ethnicity play a major role in business ownership and success but these topics are often neglected in business schools. So, in 2015, I left my full-time job to get my Ph.D. in Sociology where I am studying race & ethnic relations and economic sociology. To ensure the research and work I am doing as a 4th year Ph.D. student extends beyond the academic space, I created Houston Black-Owned Businesses (HouBlkBus), as a tool to highlight and educate Black-owned businesses in the Greater Houston area. In addition to HouBlkBus, I am the co-founder of Attucks England, LLC a turnkey consulting firm that I operate alongside Warren Luckett & Cornell England. Under this consulting firm, we work with small and large businesses, this allows me to use my research and passion for businesses in order to create sustainable businesses in and outside of Houston. In addition to these roles, I enjoy writing about Black businesses for public journals like the Texas Tribune and Blavity.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been anything but a smooth journey. Like most entrepreneurs, I’ve had businesses and business ideas that either failed or never left the ground. The difficulty in shifting lanes from a professional to an entrepreneur is a difficult road to navigate on top of academia. The journey to figure out what I am passionate about was a long one but I can finally say that my passion and work are in alignment.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
My research, HouBlkBus and Attucks England, LLC all have similar focuses, to assist in the development of sustainable minority-owned businesses. This ranges from qualitative research to promotion, speaking/presentations and small business consulting. I am proud when I see a business I’ve worked with or highlighted doing well. When I see the business owner happy and moving forward towards success, however they define it.
What sets me apart is that I want to do the work on both sides; the research and the consulting. I don’t believe that I should go to the community to get my data and not return the results to them. It is my duty to use what I find to uplift business owners, one at a time.
What were you like growing up?
A nerd. I’m the middle of five and spent most of my time with my older and younger brothers. This meant comic, superheroes and video games… a lot of them. When I was not with them, I spent time alone, usually sitting outside just thinking and people watching. Maybe, I was a boring child, I never played sports and because I was a military brat I never got involved in activities at school. Making friends was never difficult but moving meant always having to make new friends every few years.
- Website: www.asheliatkins.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: HouBlkBus and Asheli_Atkins
- Facebook: HouBlkBus
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