Farrah Gray Inspired This Black Man to Start a Business In High School

Reported by Victor O

Ethan Holmes (pictured) is just 21 years old and a college student, but he already has his own business which produces applesauce. The industrious young man has just recently received a further boost with additional funding to help him expand his business and revenue.

Holmes is the chief executive of Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce, a business which specializes in preparation of homemade classic and cinnamon-flavored applesauce sold in numerous stores across Cleveland. He is currently a sophomore at Hiram College and spends his weekends working to expand his business, which is still at a nascent stage.

The young entrepreneur was recently offered a $10,000 loan through the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream loan fund to help him scale up his business to enhance its ability to fulfill orders.

The loan, which will have a period of five years and is low interest, is provided through assistance from the microfinance institution Accion.

The applesauce products, which are made with apples, pears, apple ciders and cinnamon, cost $4.99 for a 16-ounce jar. Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce raked in about $8,000 in revenue last year between the 1,500-2,000 jars that were sold. With a targeted sales figure of more than 2,000 jars per month this year, the extra funding provided should help to make this an achievable goal.

Holmes got the inspiration to start his own business when he was just 15 years old. He felt inspired after reading the book “Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out” written by millionaire writer Farrah Gray.

“He was making a million dollars at 14,” Holmes said of Gray, whom he met at an event in Columbus. “So, I figured I’m 15, I can go get that.”

After a failed attempt to start a chocolate candy bar business while at Shaker Heights High School, Holmes got his grandfather to teach him how applesauce is prepared. He then used the information obtained to experiment with his own recipes for about a year before deciding it was time to start Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce.

He started the business with about $1,500 which he was reportedly able to gather from birthday and Christmas gifts. The first third-party seed money was raised for Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce when the young Black entrepreneur launched an IndieGoGo Crowdfunding drive last summer, with the target to raise $1,500 in 31 days. He ended up pulling in more than $2,000 – one person donated $1,000.

Holmes revealed that his next plan is to raise $100,000 to help him make his applesauce products available in new markets.

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