We’re thrilled to spotlight one of the dazzling victors from our 2023 Women of Color Incubator Pitch Competition. These rising Black women entrepreneurs are set to ignite a flame of inspiration and drive in other aspiring young Black women entrepreneurs—and indeed, in all of us—encouraging the pursuit of their own entrepreneurial dreams with newfound zeal and passion.

Meet Kemi Karim, Founder of Roses From The Concrete and 3rd Place Awardee from University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

What inspired you to start your business? 

During the peak of the pandemic, I found myself in the latter half of my sophomore year of undergrad, devoting hours between and after classes to filling out applications with little success. After facing many rejections, I made a resolute decision to answer affirmatively to myself. This unwavering determination, driven by a desire to forge opportunities not only for myself but also for others, became the catalyst for my entrepreneurial journey.

What has the entrepreneurship journey looked like for you so far? 

I’ve had HIGH highs and the lows have been LOW. However, with each new experience and challenge, I’ve gleaned valuable lessons in the art of adaptation. These experiences have honed my ability to navigate change with improved emotional, physical, and spiritual resilience.

What has been the most rewarding part of being a young female entrepreneur? 

 Narrowing it down to just one choice is quite the challenge! 

For me, placing a bet on myself as a young female entrepreneur has proven to be one of the most rewarding decisions. Growing up in NYCHA housing, the sight of a woman, let alone a Black woman, owning a business was a rarity. However, my exposure to unwavering determination, relentless hard work, and unyielding commitment has been the bedrock of my entrepreneurial journey. 

I personify the concept of “start here, go anywhere.” In addition to having faith in myself, my utmost passion lies in the realm of community building and service. I take immense pride in the positive impact I’ve been able to make in the lives of those I’ve encountered.

Where do you see yourself in one year? How about 5 years? 

One year from now, I envision the soft launch of RFTC, exuding confidence and drawing in prosperity like a magnet. When conversations turn to the future of DEI, I see my name emerging as a significant influencer. 

Fast forward five years, I picture myself gracing the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list, lauded for my contributions in uplifting top corporations through innovative arts and cultural programming. By that point, I anticipate overseeing a small to mid-sized team and extending our reach to other major East Coast cities. I aspire to be invited to deliver a compelling TED Talk, where I can trace how my pivotal journey with WBENC became the catalyst for global transformation.

What advice would you give to other female founders just starting their business? 


You don’t have to navigate this journey in solitude. While some individuals may offer unsolicited advice or attempt to share their apprehensions, it’s essential to discern what aligns with your vision and discard the rest.

How did you first learn about the WBENC WOC Incubator?

My introduction to the incubator program was made possible through Valerie Cofield. She has been an unwavering source of guidance and support in my life, and I am thankful to have been warmly embraced into her circle as a member of her extended family.

How would you describe your experience in the WOC Incubator Program? 

I’d describe my journey in the WBENC program as an intellectual and strategic challenge. There were moments when I contemplated the depth of my commitment to achieving my desired outcomes. I persisted in pushing boundaries, examining, and shifting my approach. In a program of this nature, your rewards are directly proportional to the dedication you invest. I’m grateful for fully embracing the abundant opportunities that came my way.

What did you learn during the WOC Incubator program that will help you grow your business? 

Passion is an incredible and deeply genuine driving force. However, unguided passion can sometimes steer you toward an aimless path. Transforming your passions into a thriving business venture is entirely possible, provided you employ meticulous planning and a solid structure. Thanks to the invaluable support of the WOC incubator, I’ve deciphered the blueprint for bridging my background in arts and community organizing with my entrepreneurial acumen. Now, I stand on the precipice of a new expedition, ready to catalyze meaningful global transformation.

What’s next for you and your business? 

I’m thrilled to embark on the next chapter of launching my new venture, Roses From The Concrete. My goal is to further expand my connections within the DEI realm, secure additional seed funding, and gear up for an exceptionally promising inaugural year.

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Kemi Karim
Founder | Roses From The Concrete

Roses From The Concrete is a company dedicated to elevating organizations through arts and cultural programming.