At GoDaddy, we’ve always believed that everyone has the right to make their own way. Not everyone, though, has access to the kinds of resources, mentors and funding that make entrepreneurship possible. Our newest documentary web series shines a light on the struggles and extraordinary successes of entrepreneurs who have started with less and who achieved their goals.
Four episodes follow Sequoia Ferguson and Consuelo Rosales, two Memphis-based entrepreneurs who have progressed through Empower by GoDaddy, a philanthropic program that equips men and women in underserved communities with the training, tools and peer networks they need to accelerate their journey.
The women find a new mentor and supporter in the series host, Scott Shigeoka.
Scott was recently named the GoDaddy Entrepreneur in Residence. He will spend the next year bringing attention to inclusive entrepreneurship and the stories of those who have benefitted from it.
By documenting the diversity of journeys that lead to American small-business ownership, we hope to show that entrepreneurship is an attainable aspiration for every person in America.
These are their stories.
Sequoia Ferguson was 16 when she had her first child. Even so, she knew at that early age that she wouldn’t let it define what she could (and would) accomplish. She’s since earned her undergraduate degree, founded a business, earned her master’s degree, gotten married and given birth to a new baby. This year, her oldest child goes off to college.
That’s So You Boutique is Sequoia’s “other” child. After eight years as a retail brick-and-mortar store, the rising cost of rent and hefty overhead of carrying a large inventory forced Sequoia to shutter her store. In partnership with Empower by GoDaddy, the community development program Communities Unlimited backed Sequoia with a micro loan to help her evolve her business. She is pivoting her business model, transforming her store into a traveling storefront and taking advantage of pop-up opportunities.
Watch her episode to see her re-launch That’s So You Boutique as a pop-up shop/mobile truck. Her first destination — Memphis Pride.
“The places we are seeing higher relative rates of job creation are among women, people of color, immigrants…These are the folks who are starting businesses in a time when we’re seeing that generally declining. So they are precious and you want to invest in them. But they’re also the people we know who’ve had the biggest barriers.” ~ Joyce Klein, Director, Business Ownership Initiative, The Aspen Institute
Consuelo immigrated to the United States from Mexico as a teenager. She struggled with limited English language skills and initially saw opportunities for herself only in the cleaning or restaurant industries. For 13 years, she worked as a housekeeper. She married and had three children, but the physical work was taxing, the pay was low and her marriage deteriorated.
Consuelo was a victim of domestic violence. She cites her economic dependence on her husband as a key reason she stayed with him. Eventually, she came to see business ownership as her way out. She started her own cleaning business by knocking on doors and was able to eventually support herself and her kids — and leave behind the abusive relationship.
With the support of Communities Unlimited, and Empower by GoDaddy training, Consuelo has begun to build on her early success. She’s getting her website up and running, with the understanding that larger corporate clients expect to be able to find her online. She’s taking English language classes to become more comfortable in her role communicating with potential clients. Most recently, she’s hired additional staff to ensure her business can meet the demand of increased clientele.
Watch her episode to see what we witnessed during the several months of production: her confidence and self-assurance growing with each step along her journey.
“When you have stereotypes placed against your industry that’s opportunity for you to grow because it means other people aren’t paying attention to where the openings are. And so this is really smart for people who are thinking about getting into an industry where they think the stereotype is going to be low, or you’re worried about how people are going to perceive you. Don’t worry about that. Go in, full on, because you see something others don’t and you’re going to excel because of that.” ~ Mario Armstrong, brand expert/entrepreneur
Scott Shigeoka, narrator
As GoDaddy’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Scott advocates for inclusive entrepreneurship and provides expert guidance to the everyday entrepreneurs he meets. His own experience as a founder provides a unique platform from which he can offer truly empathetic mentorship.
Scott is an American entrepreneur, storyteller and designer. His work concentrates on bridging social divides through powerful content and shared experiences. His forthcoming book, covering his journey traveling across the U.S., will focus on the wide range of perspectives collected from a nation divided by politics, geographies, identities and unequal access to life-changing resources.
Check out all four episodes of “Made in America, a GoDaddy Series” to see Sequoia and Consuelo’s journey. We hope that by sharing these stories we can illustrate the real difference that business ownership can make on families, communities and individuals. Click here to watch the series.