Meet the Founders from the Fall 2012 Co-hort

9 entrepreneurs who have already beaten the odds to get their business this far have now become part of the inaugural FounderMachine co-hort.

Dawn House – Founder, Green Clean Atlanta

I am a high school drop out and I’ve previously been a single mother living homeless.  I earned my GED  in 1993 and my bachelors in Psychology in 2008. I recently completed my MBA in 2011 and I am currently pursuing my doctorate degree.

I operate a commercial green cleaning service that is used to support my non profit which assists homeless women.  I am a single parent of a gifted 11 yr  little girl.  I have supported other families via my non profit and I earn under 35k per yr. I have been in business for 3 yrs.

Our non-profit allows women to address the underlining surges of homelessness by providing more than temporary shelter. Through our eight step process participants are able to develop stability that will allow them to support themselves and familtoss well as give back to the community via humanitarian efforts.


Tish Davis – Elegant Event Sitters

Well, where do I start? I am a single mom of 3 girls? When I was pregnant with my third daughter I was made homeless.

I did not accept offers from friends and yes, strange men, for housing. I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of a remedy.  After 6 months of shelter life, I was able to move into a place of my own. I’d done the unthinkable…and got a job.

After 4 years, I was downsized and lost my house…it was time to start my own business. Elegant Event Sitters was hatched and after 5 years, I was able to replace my $47k salary with income from the business and I took the plunge 100%.

Elegant Event Sitters provides childcare at weddings and special events. Thank God for Twitter. I was able to reach out to so many prospects in various states.

By the end of 2010 I had expanded to NC and SC and in 2011 made the nationwide launch.  And in one month I had a contract for $46k, which was nearly my yearly salary. At that moment I knew that I made the right decision.


Candra Jolly Autrey – Founder,  KRAZE Magazine

I have lived here for 10 years…I guess the 100 bucks paid off. Although this is a success story more than anything, I want the opportunity that I see others have but I currently don’t have access to. I want to learn and grow.

I officially launched KRAZE Magazine in 2011. It’s a national print and digital publication for women of color. The growing brand has a strong web presence and has since garnered a devote customer base.


Jarvis Smith – Founder, Tru Tech Maintenance

In 2008, I started Tru Tech Maintenance Services. After a brief stint with forming and organizing the company I was incarcerated for a period of two and a half years.

While incarcerated, I continued to study and hone the skills of my craft to ensure that once I was able, I would rebuild on a solid business in hopes it maintains success.

As of recent, I am returning to the workforce after serving several years in a state institution. Because I reenter as a Felon, there are unfortunately disadvantages of finding fair employment at a decent wage. In the spirit of entrepreneurship, I used my talent and passion to create Tru Tech Maintenance Service.

Tru Tech Maintenance Service, provides affordable, quality care for every budget. Whether you are a single mom or elderly person on a fixed income, or, a small business owner with a new business we can serve you.


 Jacki Kash – Founder, Inspire To Dream

As an entrepreneur I, along with other women I met, faced economic barries for women in the business start-up phase. This lack of access to opportunities is a common theme among myself and other economically  and socially disadvantaged women.

Having been downsized from my position in healthcare after 3 years, I pursued my vision of business ownership and raised funds from family and friends to release my first book and start a publishing company in 2006.

Inspire To Dream is a platform to promote, empower, connect inspire and teach women entrepreneurs to prosper in their businesses and using their entrepreneurial gifts. With proper funding, sponsorships, partnerships and access to opportunities,  I believe Inspire To Dream will be successful in empowering women in the community.


Edrichus Sykes – Pure Green Coatings

I was born in a small rural village in West Point, Mississippi. I am now an Official Climate Ambassador and Presenter after being invited to join the Climate Reality Leadership Corps at a unique training with former VP, Al Gore and 1,000 exceptional climate leaders.

Pure Green Coatings™ (PGC) LLC and its subsidiary Pure Green Academy™ (PGA), is a New and Emerging Cleantech HUBZone Service Disabled Veteran Minority Owned Small Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.

As CEO my past life, formally a shelter resident became real inspiration. It taught me that dedication and hard work are instrumental to any success.



 Shawn Williams – Founder, Williams Consulting.

I grew up in a disadvantaged, lower income family and neighborhood in the St. Louis area.

In an effort to rise above my situation and be an example for my peers and neighbors I went to college to be a graphic designer.

I was fortunate to go to college with the use of student loans and working 2 sometimes 3 jobs.

My business, Williams Consulting,  offer strategy, brand development, mobile/web development, social networking campaigns, and ad campaigns that help them meet their objectives.