E.L. Martin Co.
Year Started: 1992
Based in: New York City
2001 Projections: $6 million
She's brokered prime real estate deals for Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. She found a hip new space for Ms. magazine. She's got plans to take her real estate firm national. Still, Elizabeth Martin can well remember the struggling early days of E.L. Martin & Co. Inc.
With a master's degree in real estate investment and development, she was working at a New York City real estate brokerage when she found her entrepreneurial inspiration: Women and minorities were being underserved and underrepresented by real estate professionals. "I could see there was a niche to be filled," she says. So, in 1992, Martin struck out on her own with $25,000 from family and friends-in the middle of a real estate slump. Capital and customers were hard to find, but Martin made it through, focusing on entrepreneurial and nonprofit minority clients.
Those hard days well behind her, Martin has branched out into corporate clientele and expects company sales to hit $6 million this year. She remains passionate about her niche. "All of [my clients] are unique, which is why it's so important to understand their businesses to get a sense of where the best place is for them." -Nichole L. Torres