Contributor: Markayle Tolliver, Coordinator, Community Impact
During Black History Month, World Business Chicago will be spotlighting inspiring Black business leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs.
As Chicago has the nation’s largest food and beverage manufacturing industry, with over 60,000 employees and $8.4B, our first profile this month represents our city’s leading strengths as the No. #1 Food Innovation capital of the U.S. #WhyChicago
Meet our first Black business owner, Dashawn Hawthorne, founder of Checago Coffee. The Checago Coffee App allows users to explore the city, trying coffee from all of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. Learn more about the app and community here.
Originally from Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, Dashawn’s entrepreneurship journey began at an event at Whole Foods in Englewood. When the store first opened, Black Founders were invited to showcase their products to the community that would be sold in the new store. Dashawn was inspired by the many successful entrepreneurs that came from his southside community. In his own words, “I decided I wanted to be one of them. I did not know anything about business, but was determined to start a company.” Shortly after, Dashawn enrolled into the Operation Hope Program, and later graduated from Joseph Business School. Dashawn credits these two institutions as the places where he learned how to build a business.
A memorable and motivating childhood moment of Dashawn’s occurred in 2005, when Barack Obama spoke at his 8th grade graduation at Ariel Community Academy in Kenwood. “Right at that moment, I believed I was going to be a part of something special”, Dashawn recalls.His advice to the future business leaders – “You become what you think about most of the time. So always have a vision and a goal in mind. Live in the future and ask yourself – How would business be done differently 10 years from now? Then go put in the work today! Don’t quit until you have executed that strategy.”
Interested in learning more about Dashawn and Checago Coffee App? Visit the website at https://www.checagocoffee.com/.