Saturday, February 24, 2018
Black Entrepreneur

Janice Bryant Howroyd Builds First Black-Owned Billion Dollar Business


Janice Bryant Howroyd, 62, founded her multi-billion-dollar staffing firm, ACT-1 Group, in 1978. Over 30 years later, the company has over 75 offices across the country. Though she grew up in a “harsh and ugly” segregated community, Howroyd says she “moved forward” rather than let her circumstances hold her back. That’s something she says she made sure to instill in her son and daughter who both work for the family business, which is the largest company owned by a minority woman in the country.

Here are several quotes of advice for entrepreneurs derived from several interviews in the past few years:

  • “Never compromise who you are personally to become who you wish to be professionally.”
  • “Discipline is not a dirty word. There is far more freedom and opportunity for creativity and success in enjoying discipline. Years ago someone I very much respect told me the reason they were successful is that they embraced doing what other people resent or are reluctant to do.”
  • “Empowering people is a blessing and responsibility.”
  • “Many people are determined and have the true grit attitude to run their own businesses, but that is not enough. At a certain point you must design your business and have a long-term plan.”

Janice Bryant Howroyd’s career is an inspiring story because it shows how success is achieved over time with a plan, hard work, and sacrifice. Too often we are led to believe that business success comes overnight or that you just need that one idea that will be a home run. In some cases, the unicorn does appear, but for most businesses success comes after years of focused, strategic work.

Howroyd started her business in 1978 and has strategically managed it to become the first African-American-owned billion dollar company in the United States. Where will your business be in 35 years? 1 year? 5 years?

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  1. Larry October 1, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    That’s very strong keep positive do the right thing

  2. Wendell Matthews October 6, 2015 at 9:53 am

    So often we are taught and shown homerun companies when in actuality, majority of business are built in strategic principles.

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