Black Business Month: Virginia Tech student hopes to inspire others

'I think it’s extremely important just to show that we do have each other’s backs'

ROANOKE, Va. – At 19 years old, Anaija Head already runs her own business: CTK Apparel.

The Virginia Tech student started the company in 2018. She designs and prints everything herself, from T-shirts, to hats to jackets.

What started with just 100 sales a year, is now around 2,000.

“I want to inspire some other people to start their own businesses,” said Head.

August marks National Black Business Month. Just like other Black business owners, Head said that it was tough getting the support she needed to get her business up-and-running.

Anaija Head, 19, talks about her business "CTK Apparel" during National Black Business Month. (WSLS)

”I have so much appreciation for all businesses, especially Black-owned businesses because we have it ten times harder,” said Head.

According to a new survey by the National Black Chamber of Commerce and Groupon, 74% of Black business owners said they had fewer chances and less time to create a successful business because of a lack of capital investment and resources. And 80% reported facing more challenges because of their race.

When the Black Lives Matter movement hit home, Head decided to do what she could. She made Black Lives Matter apparel and donated half the proceeds to bail protesters out of jail across the country. She also attended a Black Lives Matter community event alongside other Black entrepreneurs in July.

“There’s a lot of generational wealth that we missed out on, so being able to build that now and just having a say,” said Head, ”I think it’s extremely important just to show that we do have each other’s backs.”

Head said her business is about empowering people to chase their own dreams while still uplifting one another.

”I’m just glad I can help,” said Head. “And other Black-owned businesses, I’m glad we are actually taking time to build our brands and build ourselves up, especially in times like this.”

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You can watch Lindsey during Virginia Today every weekend or as a reporter during the week!