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The spirit of entrepreneurship is growing, especially as people’s lives have changed, and some new life paths are out to solve old problems.
The name of the game is gut health when it comes to Shayla Ashley Graham, whose business has roots all the way back to her elementary school lunches.
“I’ve always loved food. I’m kind of a foodie myself,” Graham said as she recounted a classmate gnawing on fresh peppers at a young age. “She really enjoyed her veggies. So from that point, I just began to develop this gut instinct to want to eat more nutritional foods and to try new different cultural dishes.”
A long and winding road took Graham in and out of a path to becoming a lawyer. It also found her on the west coast, where health and life coaching became a real possibility.
“So we hear this term ‘holistic’ a lot. And when you think about the gut, it affects so many areas of the body,” she said.
That’s when Graham became a mother. She and her partner headed back east to grow the family and their personal careers.
“I decided, ‘you know what, I’m going to move back to Syracuse and I’m going to start these entrepreneurial endeavors right now,’ ” she said.
She’s now a part of the Black Media Mogul Maker program as one of its founders and participants.
“It was just great building teamwork, like the team and collaboration and camaraderie with other entrepreneurs right here in Syracuse,” Graham said.
It’s now about action for her.
“I wanted to be able to deliver my services to those folks and to our community, which so desperately needs it as well,” said Graham. “So I have a certain expertise in what I do, and I want to be able to deliver that same caliber of professionalism and approach into posting workshops.”
While it is a for-profit business, Graham is looking to partner with others to make things like fresh food and mentorship available to more than those who have historically been able to afford it, focusing on things like tackling historic food deserts.
Growing a newer business while creating more consciousness and excitement around mental and gut health, she says, is tough.
“The hardest part in any endeavor is sticking with it; starting and sticking with it,” Graham said.