National Entrepreneur's Day

By CSD  |  November 15, 2021


An entrepreneur’s decision to start a business puts the “start” in “startup.” Today, for National Entrepreneurs Day we want to show how different entrepreneurs got started and what that looks like. Have you started a business?

Tag us in a picture or video showing how you started. Or explaining why you started. Maybe sharing your story will inspire others to go ahead and start their own business!

Share Your Startup Story!

November 16th was National Entrepreneur’s Day – a day to celebrate all of you risk-takers – your passion, your successes, your failures, your pasts, and your futures!

We took the week to celebrate and inspire Deaf Entrepreneurs by reflecting on where it all began – your start! YOU put the ‘start’ in startup, and we wanted to recognize that by sharing your startup stories.

Jazmine Garcia-Freeland

JazMaria Boutique


My business was launched 7 years ago with $500, and it’s possible. And why? LOVE and FREEDOM. I was a stay-at-home mom that time and during that time there weren’t many Deaf Latina-owned businesses.

I thought I’d lead by example, so I took the plunge and I found love through creating earrings, then I added fashion later.

My second reason was freedom. You run your business with your own style without meeting anyone’s expectations. You could just modify, improve, reset, make mistakes, and you get to develop different skills without being limited.

Ericka Olujie

Erry B. Shop


Hi! How many of you know Black Deaf and hard-of-hearing-owned businesses?

Yeah… it’s small.

I started my business 3 years ago. Why?

I met vendors and Deaf-owned businesses. Where are Black and brown deaf people? I was inspired to become one of the Black and Deaf-owned businesses.

Now I encourage you all to do the same!

Melissa Greenlee



Image Description: A white woman with shoulder-length blonde hair is wearing a black tee shirt with the word #deaffriendly in white. She is signing in front of a glass door. Green trees are in the background.

Transcript: Twenty years ago, I started my first business. I started my current business, DeafFriendly, nine years ago. You know, START is an important part. I will not pretend, starting, it is HARD! But the good news is that starting is the hardest part. The part after that is fun, there are challenges, with lots of learning, you make connections, you build relationships. It’s an amazing experience owning your own business.
I want to share my favorite quote. “The world is looking for YOU. Will you show up?”

Tyrone Oraguzie

Financial Advisor


You know, I worked in corporate America so long, and so hard every day hoping that one day my finances would improve.

I had fun working on organizing and hosting events and even was involved in filming, myself. But it wasn’t enough. I was still struggling.

I decided to shift my plans and start a financial services business. So I got my license through a company to educate people on their finances.

I wanted to make an impact on the deaf and hard of hearing communities. In school we learn about so many different topics but hardly ever learn about money and finances.

Now I provide equal opportunities for everyone who works with us and educate our community all across North America.

Thank you for watching.

Vicki Campos-Hamilton

Eaffers and Max


Hello, I’m Vicki Campos-Hamilton, I own a business, Eaffers and Max on Etsy, since 2016, now in our 5th year, yay!

Before I set up my business, I was a case manager for deaf adults in NYC for several years then became a teacher of the deaf. I decided to pursue my true passion, ART!

I took a risk and I am glad I did! I am happier and I have my own schedule. I don’t answer to anyone. I just answer to myself. I am my own boss, right? It has been an enriching experience.

I would like to show you something, a popular item in my shop. (Vicki shows a baby onesie with a rainbow LOVE in ASL and English on front.) This LOVE rainbow design – L O (LOVE in ASL) E, it’s a cool play in ASL.

I want to let you know that if you’re thinking of setting up a business and feel it’s too late. It is not too late. Never is. I encourage you to do so. I am in my 50’s. I am your living proof. That’s all. Thank you, CSD SVF for doing this.

Richard Horrell

Big Bully Roasters


What’s the story behind setting up Big Bully Roasters?

My friend, Walter, and I had always dreamed of running our own Coffee Roasting business. But that dream was dashed by the reality of jobs, family duties and financial investment risks. But during the 2019 fires in northern California, I had evacuated with my family to his home. As we were all sheltered and huddled together escaping the fires, we started talking about dream again. And as we chatted the “yeah, I wish” slowly changed to, “well, why not?”

We realized that with the five of us there, the initial startup investment would be less risky for one person as it would be more affordable to try this new enterprise between the five of us. So we bought a big, fancy roaster and started our launch!

With the risk minimized, we were able to more safely take that chance. Alone, it wasn’t possible as the fear of that financial risk was too great.

Together we were stronger, and had more investing power, time management power, more design and artistic, and creative ideas to share. We started experimenting with bean sources, roasting profiles, etc.

By the time the fires were extinguished, and we made it home safely, we had a plan in place!

We founded the business. Bought the machines, registered our business and got a license. Started learning more and more about roasting and dove in with classes and coordinated our investments to make it happen.

I think fear often stops us from taking chances and starting a new business. But once you take that first step, it is very exciting, rewarding and fun! Good luck!

Terry Giansanti

Hands On Travel


Hands on Travel was started in 2002, almost 20 years ago.

I never really thought I’d start a travel business, but have always had a passion for traveling. Growing up I loved to travel, and loved looking at places from local’s perspective. When I traveled, I hated going to crowded tourist traps and was always looking for where locals would go.

It was that passion that led me to a point where I decided to find a way to change tourism to give a local’s experience to Deaf travelers. Because really, before then, those types of tours were only accessible to hearing people.

So, I had a vision, it was just a small hobby but I realized that so many people appreciated that kind of experience. So here we are today – still going!

Tag us in a picture or video showing how you started. Or explaining why you started. Maybe sharing your story will inspire others to go ahead and start their own business!

Amelia Hamilton

Amelia Hamilton Photography



A few years ago, I was going through some difficult times and I decided to buy a camera to bring with me on adventures. Before I knew it, people were asking me for sessions.

From there, my love for photography just skyrocketed. I realized that documenting “moments to remember forever” through photos is my passion and my next step was to turn that into a business!

Ryan Maliszewski



Opportunity creation has always been at the heart of Mozzeria. For example, we create jobs and change the perspectives of our customers.

When I first took this job as CEO early last year, the goal was to scale the business from San Francisco to D.C. as well as new locations around the country.

Then, COVID happened.

Yet we were persistent and took that big first step and opened our restaurant here in D.C. in the middle of a global pandemic!

As with any entrepreneur, you’re not only creating opportunities for yourself, but for others as well. We showed the world that Deaf people can do this – and you can too!

Now we want to see your startup stories!

Head over to your favorite social media platform and tag us!

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