Sevetri Wilson is a woman who makes things happen.
When she was just 22, she started her first company and grew it to a multi-million dollar business.
Wilson is the founder and CEO of ExemptMeNow, a service that assists in the smooth creation of startups and existing nonprofits.
She has also founded SGI, a strategic communications firm that helps corporations grow their presence through advertising.
Her dedication and passion to succeed has made her the first Black woman from Louisiana to raise over $2 million in venture capital.
Not bad for a woman raised by a single mother of five.
She Lost Both Her Parents At A Young Age
Wilson admits starting her company was difficult, as she had knew no one in the business world.
“I started my first company with zero investment capital, no connections, and grew it to a million dollar company. I was raised by a single mother, who made less than $30,000 a year taking care a household of 5,” Wilson told Distillery Life. Sadly, she lost both her parents before she turned 22.
But despite not having her biggest supporters in her corner, Wilson became the first in her family to graduate college.
Just a year after earning her master’s degree from Louisiana State University, Wilson created Solid Ground Innovations (SGI).
“I think it’s important for people to understand my journey, especially those younger than me, who come from a similar background. I want them to know if I did it with so few resources, they can do it too and even better.”
Bill Gates Changed Her Life
You look just like your mama, girl! • Words I still hear from people who still remember what my mama looked like. • Today is a very special day because it’s my Mama’s bday. She would have been 69 (I was an unexpected gift at 38), and this year marks the 10th anniversary of her home-going. • #dearmama #happybdaymama #shirleymae #nola #daughter #sister #friend #hero #mother #mama #mymomhadmelate #retirementbaby
Wilson got her break after applying to Microsoft founder, Bill Gates and his wife’s scholarship.
“When I was growing up, I knew that my mother wouldn’t be able to afford to send me to college, so early in high school I started applying for scholarships. Although I received many, the most life changing was the Bill and Melinda Gates Scholarship.”
“Being a Gates Scholar also sparked my initial interest in technology. The way (Bill) Gates used his success in tech to bring about change throughout the world, was inspiring to me.”
Much is made of Wilson’s ethnicity and gender – how does she feel about constantly being labeled?
“People ask me how do I feel about being called a ‘Black Female Founder.’ I don’t feel a certain type of way. I’m Black, aren’t I? I’m a woman, aren’t I? The bigger issue is what people may, or maybe not be, subconsciously attributing to this.”