We had the good fortune of connecting with Leyanis Diaz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leyanis, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started MAJOR because as Cuban immigrants, my parents worked a lot when I was little. And so, I spent a lot of my time across the street with one of my first role models: Beatrice… the candy lady of our neighborhood.
For those of you that don’t know what a candy lady is, Beatrice was in charge of selling cookies, candy and more to the kids in my neighborhood.
But to me, she wasn’t just selling candy and junk food. She was bringing us together, reinvesting in the community and creating jobs… All from her living room.
And Beatrice… like all of us… had bigger dreams.
She dreamed of opening up her own candy store in the neighborhood, but she went out of business before she could do that because she couldn’t get the support that she needed.
And so, after growing up in some of Miami’s roughest neighborhoods and watching my favorite minority-owned businesses go out of business like Beatrice, I started MAJOR in 2017 to keep minority-owned businesses from closing their doors.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Part online incubator and development center, today, MAJOR, formerly known as MAJOR MARKETPLACE, is a social enterprise and an online one-stop shop for minority-owned businesses, providing underrepresented founders with access to advice, training, opportunities and resources that they may not otherwise have access to so that they can start, grow and be major.
We advocate for, conduct research and collect data on, offer educational programs and technical assistance to and develop technology for minority business owners.
But we specialize in minority business development and technical assistance, promoting the growth and building the capacity and capabilities of minority-owned businesses. We offer workshops, educational training, consulting services, and business support services such as, web development, legal assistance, financial statement creation, marketing plan creation and more.
Our key differentiators are that we offer an online one-stop resource and that we not only provide the consulting but can also help with the executions of tasks and projects.
We serve a pretty diverse group of business owners and founders.
100% of them are people of color
70% of them are women
73% of our clients are economically disadvantaged
And 3% of them are a part of the LGBTQ+ community
As of 2020, we have supported over 1,000 businesses.
We have a presence in all 50 states thanks to our partners
We have provided over 2,000 hours of consulting
Delivered over 20 educational workshops
And created and impacted over 100 jobs
…And these numbers are growing
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
At the moment, I am living in Miami, which is my hometown and where my business is headquartered.
If I had a friend visiting, I would take them to the different neighborhoods in Miami (South Beach, Wynwood, Brickell, Upper East Side, etc.) since there is so much to see in each of them and we’d check out the bars, restaurants and attractions in the area.
While they were visiting we’d have to make sure to eat Cuban food, go to the beach during the day, dance the night away at a night club, and take pictures with the rooster sculptures in Little Havana.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my parents and family because without their support, encouragement and sacrifices, I would not be here today. Deciding to be an entrepreneur and work on my business full-time was a difficult decision for me. I was scared, nervous, and excited all at the same time. When I shared my decision with my family and my circle of support, they told me I would be okay and gave me the confidence and push I needed. Since becoming an entrepreneur, they have been in my corner cheering me on, sharing in the highs and lows of my entrepreneurial journey. They are excited and proud when things go well and tell me things are going to be okay when I have a bad day.
Taylor Baldwin (Mama Photog)