11-year-old Georgian helping other girls, competing for business grant

Her business has always been about helping other girls.
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 3:38 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Zoe Oli’s business began with a desire to see herself in a doll.

“I did not like my hair and wished it was straight like my classmates, “she said. “My mom did everything she could to help me and one of the things she did was buy me a black doll. I loved her but she did not have hair that looked like mine. I wanted dolls with curls and braids....I decided to do something about it.”

The 11-year-old created Beautiful Curly Me about four years ago. The business not only sells dolls with curly hair, but it also sells books written by Oli, puzzles and hair care products.

Her business has always been about helping other girls.

“We have a line of beautiful black dolls, books that I have written and empowering puzzles. For every doll bought on my website, I give one to a girl in need,” she said.

Her business has grown and taken her all over the country, and now she’s aiming for the next phase with a small business grant.

“We found the Barclay small business grant and thought it was a great fit,” she said. “The application was more text-based so so we did a lot of writing about the company and what we would do with the money.”

The grand prize is a $60,000 grant.

More than 15,000 small businesses applied. Beautiful Curly Me is in the top 10 and is the only Georgia business in the running.

“Beautiful Curly Me is a brand on a mission to instill and inspire confidence in young Black and brown girls,” she said. “I am raising up the next generation of curly and confident girls who will change the world.”

Zoe’s mother Evana said, “it shows you how amazing she is and how amazing all our children are if you just give them the right tools they can make amazing things happen.”

You can help Zoe win the grant by voting for her here.