In the past year alone, Suncrest Financials CEO Folasade Ayegbusi has helped entrepreneurs and small-business owners save more than $25 million in lost revenue, tax assessments and penalties and interest.
Like so many Black business owners, success hasn’t come easy for Ayegbusi.
She said she grew up in an impoverished section of Washington, D.C., where she experienced an eviction, a car repossession, home foreclosure, and even hunger and homelessness.
During those struggles, Ayegbusi said she realized that she had the power to be in control of her life. She built her business on the desire for financial freedom and the ability to help others.
“My financially poor upbringing is what motivated me to become an accountant,” Ayegbusi said. “I was around 14 years of age when I realized that I never wanted to be poor again.
“At 16 years of age, I got obvious with my career and decided that I wanted to become an accountant to help Black-owned businesses become financially free,” she said. “I wanted to work with businesses specifically because, as I was growing up, I felt that it was rare to see a successful Black business. I didn’t like that, and now, I want to encourage Black-owned businesses and help them face any challenges that come their way.”
At Suncrest Financials, which has offices in Washington and Baltimore, Ayegbusi offers small business financial services, payroll, insurance, bookkeeping, tax preparation and personal coaching for business leaders.
She said her background in insurance, real estate and e-commerce industries had helped tremendously.
That experience has allowed Ayegbusi to have a strong understanding of what entrepreneurs face and what lenders look for when working with small businesses.
“With one client, I streamlined and verified their bookkeeping, including calculating their tier product cost, payroll and other general operating data,” Ayegbusi said. “Then, we used this data to review what they were doing and to make changes to their business. The results of this process were gratifying to the owner and made their business stronger.
“Within a year their revenue rose from $6,000 to $29,000 because of changes they made,” she said. “By year two, they were bringing in $29,000. How? The process helped them both add to their revenue and save money in areas like tax overpayments.”
As a Black business owner, one of Ayegbusi’s biggest obstacles remains to fund and identify the resources that she needs to expand.
“I’ve had every bank that I’ve applied for a loan send me a declination letter,” she said. “I am not giving up. I am continuing to expand my businesses while I pursue the right funding opportunity that will help me expand.”
Ayegbusi said she believes it is essential that everyone recognizes National Black Business Month.
“As a community, we can pause to celebrate the fruits of our labor,” Ayegbusi said. “It’s easy for us to turn the TV on and see Black celebrities, athletes, and public figures who are a success. But what about others? I want anything that brings more visibility to the success of our Black accountants, lawyers, and entrepreneurs.
“Our youth need to see role models for success beyond people like LeBron James and Cardi B,” she said. “Highlighting Black-owned businesses during this month gives a spotlight to these kinds of success stories. It also encourages the next Black business to continue through obstacles they face on their tough path to achievement.”