James Group Awards $140,000 to Detroit Entrepreneurs and Students

James Group, a leading provider of global supply chain management services, today announced 10 finalists of the James Group Drive (JG Drive), a funding initiative to develop entrepreneurs and students in Detroit. To celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, James Group launched the JG Drive to grant $100,000 towards entrepreneurs and education in Detroit. Due to the overwhelming response from the community, the James Group decided to exceed the award amount by $40,000.

“The outstanding entrepreneurial finalists reminded me of my father’s story,” said John James, president of James Group. With one truck, one trailer and a business partner he was able to start a business that has thrived for 50 years. We hope these businesses will have the same success with the support of the JG Drive grants.”

The 2021 entrepreneurial finalists include:

  • Garnette Archer, Jo’s Gallery 2LLC – Jo’s Gallery has serviced the greater metropolitan Detroit area for two decades, focused on gifts, art, and framing services not commonly available in the home décor market. Jo’s Gallery will use the JG Drive grant to improve their curbside appearance with new signage and replacing the age-out glazing in front of the store.

  • Chantele Jones, Estella’s Vegan Dessert Boutique – Jones recently opened Detroit’s first all vegan bakery in the historic Grandmont-Rosedale neighborhood. Estella’s Vegan Dessert Boutique will use the JG Drive grant to purchase a vital piece of equipment – their professional-grade stand mixer.

  • Brittany Rhodes, Black Girl MATHgic, LLC – Black Girl MATHgic addresses math anxiety with a variety of math confidence-building products, services, and experiences. Their flagship product is the Black Girl MATHgic Box, the first and only monthly subscription box designed to increase math confidence and decrease math anxiety in girls on a 3rd to 8th grade math level. JG Drive funds will be used to create a boy version of the box, invest in digital marketing, and secure office space in Detroit.

  • Mary Thurman, JC & Me Cheer and Tumbling – JC & Me Tumbling is a Black-owned tumbling and trampoline company operated in Detroit. They provide Black and Brown families access to a sport that is virtually inaccessible because of the costs associated with gymnastics. JC & Me has been in operation since 2003 and has created opportunities for families and athletes for years. JG Drive funds would help secure a new, more permanent space to operate as their current location was unexpectedly sold.

The 2021 scholarship finalists are planning to attend colleges in Fall of 2022:

  • Diala Ajaero, University of Michigan
  • David Ricardo Medina Álvarez, College for Creative Studies
  • Quintin Bradley, University of Michigan – Dearborn
  • Thantavan Chanya, College for Creative Studies
  • Aaron Levy, St. Lawrence University
  • Parker Scott, College for Creative Studies

“It is an honor to be able to support these six Detroit students as they continue their education,” said Lorron James, CEO of James Group. “Following the last few years of upheaval in their schooling due to the pandemic, we were inspired by their tenacity and perseverance. We can’t wait to see what they do in the future.”

To see the finalist videos and learn more about each winner, visit jgdrive.com.

James Group was founded in 1971 by John A. James as a provider of freight transportation services. Throughout its 50-year history, James overcame numerous legislative obstacles at both the federal and state levels to obtain his company’s 48-state and international operating authority. The legislation at the federal level represented the first major change in trucking regulation and eased the burden of minorities entering the trucking industry. From a single heavy-duty truck and annual sales of less than $50,000, the company grew and in mid-1990s, became the highest volume truckload carrier for a major OEM by hauling more than 2,000 truckloads of cargo weekly. Since then, the business has expanded and grown under the leadership of his two sons Lorron and John E. James with new companies started in logistics, transportation, warehousing, and technology.

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