Queen Latifah Is Helping Small Business Owners In A Major Way

Queen Latifah is an OG boss.

Before it was en vogue in Hollywood, at 19 years old she launched her own production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment in 1995 and has made a string of impressive entrepreneurial moves since.

Now she’s helping other founders get their small businesses off the ground in a big way.

It was recently announced the Girls Trip star partnered with Lenovo’s Evolve Small initiative to lend her NIL (name, image, likeness) on customized marketing materials to help leverage her star power to bolster the businesses.

The Grammy and Emmy Award-winner recently sat down with ESSENCE to discuss being the face of Lenovo’s ‘Evolve Small’ initiative, which is aimed at providing financial aid, technological resources, community support, and business mentorship to small businesses across North America.

“Frankly, what made me decide to say ‘yes’ was that Lenovo was creating a campaign driven towards small businesses,” she told ESSENCE. “As someone who opened up her own small business with my partner, Shy, I wish there was this kind of campaign around when I was 19 opening up ‘Flavor Unit’ because it was pretty much coming out of my pocket,” she shared, pointing out that marketing costs for the then start-up were especially expensive. “The technology involved in {backing these businesses}, I thought was extremely fascinating that you could win this thing, possibly, and literally have me as the face of your company and I don’t have to even go anywhere, but you got me.”

To participate in the program, founders are asked to submit a 30 second to two minute “Shark Tank” style video pitch detailing why their business should be selected for the prize. Those selected as winners will receive $30,000, $10,000 in Lenovo technology upgrades, and a mentorship session with Queen Latifah. Not to mention free marketing with the help of the star.

“I’m not cheap,” she said laughingly. “What a hookup.”

Submissions will be accepted from October 13th – November 15th at www.Lenovo.com/EvolveSmall.

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