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What motivates a person to start an enterprise? In the beginning, it’s just a simple idea. But when three dynamic young professionals creatively combined their ideas with a hot consumer trend, the result turned out to be one of the most sought after automobile customization shops in Los Angeles.
Hassan Iddrissu’s love of stylish cars as a teen developed into his passion as an adult. In 2001, he opened Roadstarr Motorsport, a luxury car customizing service, with his twin brother, Hussein, and cousin John Spio. “This is what I enjoy,” says Iddrissu, 28, a native of Ghana.
For countless young black entrepreneurs, the lure of emerging markets is too good an opportunity to pass up. That was certainly the case for EXPARTUS CEO Chioma Isiadinso and The Laundry Spa owners Notoya Green and Fred Mwangaguhunga. All it took was a talent for recognizing opportunities and the zeal to turn them into lucrative businesses. Whether they are in the business of car customization or preparing candidates for college admission, young successful black entrepreneurs are turning trends into profits by creating some of the most innovative enterprises in the country.
BLACK ENTERPRISE small business writers collaborated to assess which hot market opportunities and business ideas have the best potential for 2006. This year, we take a look at seven high-growth areas that are creating fresh business opportunities for young entrepreneurs: car customization, admissions consulting, lifestyle management services, mobile technology, security and privacy, home entertainment, and health and wellness.
THE CUSTOMIZATION CULTURE
“If the ride is more fly, then you must buy!” When hip-hop icon and car buff Snoop Dogg offered this advice in a Chrysler television commercial last summer, it marked the auto industry’s commitment to targeting young urban consumers.
Savvy business minds are also heeding the message: car enthusiasts want more from their rides. From spinning rims and high-powered hydraulics to designer interiors with high-tech navigation systems, retailers of aftermarket car accessories and auto body shops are exploding on the scene with cool customizations.
As a 14-year-old student living in London, Iddrissu recalls the moment when he first set his eyes upon a Porsche 911 while on a field trip in Germany. It was an experience that spawned his infatuation with high-end European cars — and a business idea.
After he graduated from college, Iddrissu worked as a broker for Morgan Stanley. In his spare time, he customized his own car and later his friends’ rides. “I got into this first as a hobby, taking care of my own cars,” Iddrissu says. “And I realized the potential to actually take advantage of it from a business aspect.”
He saved $250,000 and left his job to become an entrepreneur. He used about $80,000 of his savings to open the first custom shop in Los Angeles because it was “absolutely” the right location for his line of work. Eventually, the company opened a second location in the Santa Monica area and expects two more to open in Toronto and Moscow, which the company will co-own with a partner from the Ukraine.