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How Two Minority Entrepreneurs Overcame Obstacles to Pursue Their Passion

Meet Coffee Pot Farms and Just Energy Entertainment, which are featured on GoDaddy's newest season of 'Made in America.'

Cherilyn Yazzie spent 13 years working as a social worker, managing nutrition services for a public health organization for the Navajo Nation. Yazzie realized, however, that recommending people eat healthy foods like vegetables and fresh foods doesn’t have much impact when those foods aren’t readily available on the reservation. That’s when Yazzie and her husband, Mike, got the entrepreneurial bug and decided to do something about it.

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In 2016, the pair created Coffee Pot Farms, a 36-acre farm located in Dilkon, Ariz. Their mission is to grow high-quality produce and make it available to low-income families on the reservation. “It just came down to me thinking that maybe I should learn how to grow food myself, because if I'm educating, and we don't have food access, I need to know what the process just to grow a vegetable is, and then I can understand and put myself in that situation,” Yazzie explains. “And so that's kind of where it started, just wanting to grow something.”

Using a greenhouse, drip irrigation, careful soil management, and other techniques, they are able to produce fresh quick-turn produce despite the harsh desert conditions and lack of water. Yazzie hopes Coffee Pot Farms inspires others within the reservations to start farming their own healthy, fresh foods so that future generations will continue to be healthy, live long, and continue to share their traditions and culture.

Then Covid-19 spread across the U.S. and Yazzie and her husband were forced to shut down their farm stands inside the reservation. But the pair pushed on despite Covid-19 lockdowns, a lack of running water and electricity, and minimal internet service. They worked with GoDaddy to launch a beautiful website and created a community-supported agriculture program (CSA), allowing them to sell produce on and off the reservation with convenient drop-off locations.

Coffee Pot Farms founder Cherilyn Yazzie.Image credit: GoDaddy

Yazzie’s story about overcoming obstacles and truly serving her community is featured in the third season of GoDaddy’s original documentary series, Made in America. The series showcases stories of minority-owned microbusinesses, like Yazzie’s, that overcome barriers and make their own way no matter the circumstances.

“Being an entrepreneur, it's possible to make things happen but you have to put the time and energy into it,” Yazzie says. “There's always going to be something positive that comes out of a trauma or something negative. … Everybody has that chance to make something of yourself, and help your community, your family, and yourself.”

The tools, strategy, and inspiration needed to succeed.

This season of "Made in America” heads to Phoenix, visiting businesses like Yazzie’s Coffee Pot Farms, as well as another entrepreneur named Dizzie Ramsey.

After two decades in the entertainment industry working for several major brands, Ramsey decided to set off on his own and do something that would bring joy to others. Six years ago, along with his mother Alexis Starks, the Los Angeles native started Just Energy Entertainment, a family-friendly children's entertainment production company that specializes in corporate and residential events.

“I noticed that there was a huge void of family entertainment—the things that you, and your mom, the kids, and grandma can all enjoy,” Ramsey explains. With a focus on children with disabilities and illnesses, as well as partnering with local senior centers, Just Energy Entertainment hires local dancers and other performers to help produce their energy-filled events.

Dizzie Ramsey, founder of Just Energy EntertainmentImage credit: GoDaddy

But during the Covid-19 crisis, Just Energy Entertainment had to put their events on pause. Ramsey financially supported his employees during the toughest times of the pandemic, making sure his colleagues could afford their bills and expenses.

Feeling down, Ramsey says he was on the brink of closing his business for good. That’s when he discovered Empower by GoDaddy, an eight-week accelerator program produced in partnership with the Better Business Bureau. Ramsey received training on how to improve his website, digital marketing, and ecommerce efforts. He also found the inspiration he needed to carry on despite the hardships.

“I'm just glad that I still have some fight in me,” Ramsey says. “An entrepreneur is somebody that wants something bigger than themselves. An entrepreneur has to fight for other people. An entrepreneur realizes that, even as an entertainer, you can't be a one-man show.

“Entrepreneurs should always want to build something for someone else,” he adds. “And in return, it'll come back to you.”

Click here to watch the third season of "Made in America."

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