San Diego’s Black business women discuss journey, obstacles during entrepreneurs summit

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After three years of navigating the complexities of starting a business in San Diego, mother-daughter team, Cynthia Ajani and Khea Pollard, opened the doors to Café X: By Any Beans Necessary in 2019. It was a dream come true, and business was good. The College Area coffee shop became a safe space for residents to build community, they said. But then COVID-19 hit. The building where they rented space went up for sale, and they closed the coffee shop in June. In hindsight, Ajani and Pollard agree, this wasn’t the first obstacle they faced and it won’t be the last. “We need more investment,” Pollard said. “It’s not about controlling or telling people how to run their business…. It’s about leveling the playing field.”
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The pair shared their story with hundreds of other Black women entrepreneurs on Wednesday during the inaugural virtual series, San Diego Black Women Entrepreneurs Summit, hosted by nonprofit Sister Cities Project.Entrepreneurs spoke about personal experiences, inspiration behind their start-ups and challenges. Panelists included Ashley Matthews, founder of Dynasty Media; Makena Gargonnu, founder of Celebrity Events by Makena; Valari Jackson, CEO of Fierce Focus Strategies, and Pollard and Ajani. The Sister Cities …

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