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Roanoke region sees more start-up businesses

By Hollani Davis, hdavis@wdbj7.com
Published On: Aug 08 2013 10:41:14 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 09 2013 03:10:45 PM EDT

The idea of being your own boss is starting to catch on for a lot of you.  The proof is in the numbers.

Sheila Ellis-Glasper would've never thought she'd leave her job as a journalist to sell her own jewelry.

"By the time I quit my job there was so many things going on with my family, with my son. Wanting to be at home with him, not wanting to be out at the scene of a car crash at 10 o'clock at night," says Ellis-Glasper.

Two and half years later, her businesses is gaining momentum, online, at a retail store and word of mouth.

This homegrown business, just one of many. In 2010, the Roanoke - Alleghany region welcomed six start-ups, in 2011, 26 start-ups and last year, add 11 more. The small business development center credits entrepreneurs reinventing themselves when the economy nearly collapsed.

"I think they're better educated. They understand what it takes to make this the new normal, for it to set in and they've become more aggressive," says Wayne Flippen, Director of the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center.

Ellis, definitely got more aggressive.  Her company, Precious Heart Designs, recently entered a partnership with the Alzheimer's organizations "For the Love of our Fathers".  The foundation was started by rapper TI, Tameka Harris and Dianne Cottle-Pope.

Her business, still coming together piece by piece. But she says, all the work is worth it.

To give you an idea of how much these start-ups are investing into the area by seeking loans and spending,  In three years, the small business development center estimates about $7.5 million .