Entrepreneurship is on the rise, and women of color are at the forefront.
“An important part of our mission is to give a platform to Black entrepreneurs to test, launch, and grow their enterprises,” says Kobla Asamoah, Head of Small Business at Hot Bread Kitchen. According to Business Wire, women of color are leading in entrepreneurship — opening businesses 4.5 times the rate of all new businesses, and double the rate of all women-owned businesses. Black women, in fact, represent the highest rate of growth of any group. Hot Bread Kitchen Incubator members like Sandra Mathis of Grace Kelli Cupcakes are leading this charge at Hot Bread Kitchen, both opening businesses with their heritage in mind.
“I am a trainee by way of my ancestors.”
Before starting her catering and dessert business Grace Kelli Cupcakes, Sandra Mathis was working as a dental assistant and volunteering at her daughter’s school. While Sandra did not anticipate becoming an entrepreneur, selling her daughter’s favorite treats at a school fundraiser seeded the idea to start her own business.
Sandra draws inspiration from her North Carolina heritage and New York roots. On the menu are traditional North Carolina foods like collard greens, black-eyed peas, and her grandmother’s baked banana pudding. She learned to cook at her grandmother’s side and is proud to be providing the same influence for her daughter, Grace.
In addition to catering, Sandra teaches cooking classes for children. Grace is right there by her side in a chef’s hat and apron. “She thinks it awesome having her own business named after her, being able to go to school and tell her classmates that she and her mom have their own business, a Black-owned business at that,” Sandra says. In the future, Sandra hopes to add a product line to her catering and dessert business. “I want to be able to pass this down to her, something that she can have, a legacy.”
Hot Bread Kitchen’s Small Business Incubator incubates diverse small food businesses as they build their brand, refine their products and grow their sales. Our program provides shared commercial kitchen space, access-to-market opportunities, and assistance securing capital and scaling sustainably. By supporting underrepresented individuals impacted by racial, social, and economic inequality, we create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive economy where all entrepreneurs can thrive and celebrate culinary tradition and innovation.