Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Katia Powell-Laurent, founder, and CEO of Black Girls Nutrition, located in Boston, MA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Black Girls Nutrition (BGN) was founded by and created for women of color. We are the first customized online nutrition and wellness platform focused on the unique nutritional and dietary preferences of women of color. Our team acknowledges that the BMI and current weight-loss companies are based on northern European white women and DO NOT address the cultural dietary preferences and needs of women of color. As a result, traditional diet standards have failed women of color in the United States.

In the United States, 82% of black women in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. Obesity continues to be the most serious public health threat, putting millions at risk for chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, Type II diabetes, and hypertension. Four out of every five black women are overweight or obese, and the average annual cost of care for obese adults is $1,380. This is a total addressable market size of $27 billion. Every day, 137 black women die due to health conditions related to being overweight or obese.

BGN is for women of color who are overweight or obese to help them break the cycle of dieting, lose weight, create sustainable, healthy, active lifestyle habits, and connect with other dieters. Using our "Lose the Weight, NOT your Roots Methodology," we help our members lose weight, break the cycle of dieting and connect with other women like themselves. We empower women to become healthy without sacrificing the foods and flavors of their cultural heritage. Our mission is to empower women of color to make healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle the "easy" choice and to create an experience that's social, enjoyable, and integrated into daily life.

Our platform tailors our messaging, nutrition plans, and online group approach to transform our members' health. Currently, we are building our online platform that will be coupled with a deep learning app to learn to track nutrition and healthy food habits from photos and document life experiences from systematic racism.

Our monthly subscription plan allows each member access to a nutrition/health coach, cultural meal guide and recipes, an accountability partner, an online support group, and access to mental health resources tailored for women of color. We help our members make better food choices by providing culturally tailored recipes, meal plans, and social networks for peer support and access to support/coaching by nutrition experts.

Tell us about yourself

Today, I am an award-winning weight-loss expert and founder of a digital nutrition startup that teaches women of color how I saved my life by taking the time to improve my health with nutrition. Many times, I stop to think about "how the heck did I get to this point because I'm so appreciative of the process that allowed me to reach this point and am excited about what lies ahead." Hopefully, by sharing part of my story about why I'm so passionate about my work, it will help you understand and hopefully inspire others to make the decision to follow their dreams. I used never to tell my story, but now I do because sometimes all we need to know is that someone else has done it before us, and we can do it too.
Many times, women of color feel unseen, undervalued, and misunderstood. We are here to advocate for WOC and to be the voice at the table to speak on behalf of the women not there. At the age of 26, I tipped the scales at 350 pounds. For me, food was a source of solace.

I wanted to be a doctor at the time, but I quickly realized that my health did not represent my interests or educational pursuits. It wasn't until I walked into my apartment, looked in the mirror, and asked, "Who is that?" that I realized who I was. It was a pivotal moment in my life that later became the catalyst for my health and professional journey. I had to drop out of school, lose my job, and lose my baby at five months pregnant on my birthday. I was on my way to being a statistic.

Hang in there; my story gets a lot better! There was doubt that I could lose weight because I had tried and failed several times. I was never successful because my "Why" was not powerful enough to keep me committed when challenges or distractions tried to pull me away from my weight-loss goals. I also wanted a healthy way to celebrate the foods and tastes of my cultural heritage.

I was fed up with "digging my own grave with my fork" and decided to save my own life. My initial intention was to go to the gym in my neighborhood. I became a member at my local gym and steadily increased my training to 4-5 times per week for 60-90 minutes. I lost 100 pounds in six months. All of my efforts since that point in life to reclaim my health have been in pursuit of helping create healthier generations in communities of color. For over 30 years of working in medicine and working with the marginalized populations of the Black Diaspora, Latino children, and women, while helping my past clients lose over 30,000 lbs.

Looking ahead, I will continue to embrace innovative thinking to bring about positive changes in the lives of women of color worldwide. I will always have an eternal fire to assist, organize, educate, and advocate for those that cannot fight for themselves or have an equal voice in society for personal quality health.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

At the moment, my biggest accomplishment as a business owner consists of two parts. One is for personal lifestyle, and the other is for business. The first part involves continuing to stay inspired by my passion to improve the health and lives of millions of women of color. A lot of times, when we begin to work on a business idea, we are inspired and excited to get started. Then when we begin in true entrepreneurship, there are many highs and lows. I do know many entrepreneurs that started their own businesses around the same time as myself and are no longer in business. That is okay, but for me, my only option is a success, and I won't stop until that is achieved.

The second part is receiving the $100K award to become a part of Google for Startups. That has fast-tracked the development of my company in a fraction of the time.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The best thing about being a business owner is honoring your commitment to owning your time. Many times, when we work for someone, they are the ones that put time constraints on our schedule. However, when you're a business owner, it is up to you to set these benchmarks and then to reinforce those boundaries, especially on the days you don't feel like working.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Dream big, and then some! Remember that you're the right person, this is the right time, nobody else can do what you do, the right people with resources (work or funding) will provide support, and nothing can stop you until you reach your goal. Progress, not perfection!
  2. Get connected to other entrepreneurs because many will become a part of your support circle. The business journey is uncertain, and there are tons of risks. If you stay committed, you will be able to reap the rewards of your hard work. Only other entrepreneurs will be able to understand this.
  3. Do not forget that life is still moving forward when building your business, and that process can try to consume all of your time and energy. Prioritizing self-care and downtime is essential for the growth of your business and your growth as a founder of a startup company.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Just as much as you work on the growth of your business, work way more on personal growth into the next best version of yourself.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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