More than just healthy eats


Yanelis Rivera, staff writer

As Black History Month continues, we learn from and acknowledge African Americans culture and support their businesses.

Only .3% of the 22 million businesses in the United States are a black-owned business and nothing more than 1% are creating a median profit margin of just more than 20%. So remember, spreading the word or just reposting on social media can promote and grow black businesses. It’s more than just businesses, it’s about growing and building as communities, sharing culture, and importantly showing that we are all equal.

Tynetta Muhammad owns a meal prep and catering business, which provides healthy food to peoplearound Wayne Township.

What is your background?

“I’m from Chicago IL, and I moved a few more places before I ended up in Indianapolis IN. I have lived in four different states and attended four different high schools growing up. I would like to say moving around a lot helped me understand more cultures across this country and be able to relate to others.

“I went to college in Marshall TX at a school called Wiley College. It is an amazing HBCU, also called the school of the Great Debaters. As a student I was very active in many organizations, and also joining the greatest sorority on the planet, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority incorporated. While a student at Wiley college, I would cook in my dormitory and feed my roommates and many friends. This allowed me to get many criticisms about my meals, which in turn helped me tweak it to where it is today.

“Later down the line, I met my boyfriend who is now my husband today. Then I relocated to Indianapolis and became a high school teacher at Arsenal Tech high school. That is where I really put my foot forward and began teaching cooking classes after school because I really enjoy cooking and helping students cook nutritional and delicious food. As an after-school cooking club coordinator, I saw many students join my class and release their cooking powers. Even teachers were amazed at how I could gain the attention of some of the school’s most energetic students.”

Did you attend college for your business? 

No, I did not attend college for my business. I attended three colleges. The first one I received a Bachelors in Sociology at Wiley College, the second one was from the University of Indianapolis where I received a Master’s in Sociology, and the last one was from Marian University, where I received my Master’s in Education.”

What’s your business and what inspired your business?  

“My business is Tynnetta Sells- Healthy Eats. I specialize in catering and meal prepping for those who need healthy and delicious options. I love to provide people across our community and other states with amazing meals. So far, I have had contracts with Butler University providing meals for their men’s soccer team and women’s volleyball team. I will provide them meal prep every week during the summer for about a month and a half. Also, I have been found on Google, to provide meals for other professional organizations as well as conferences.

“What inspires me is my passion and desire to cook. Cooking is a release of positive energy for me. Every time I prepare a meal and see a joyful person eating my food , it really gives me satisfaction. In addition to providing meals to customers., I love talking about my business. A milestone in 2021 was being featured in the Indianapolis Recorder and on WISH-TV channel 8 News.”

What is like owning a business? Has it had any major impacts? 

To be a person of color and a business owner is really a privilege. It shows that we can overcome any challenge that is presented to us. I love to teach my children and others that you have limits in your life, however you are the only one who can push those limits no one else can do that for you. Some of the major impacts involve my children wanting to be just like mommy when they grow up. They want to own their own business and not only be an employee. Also, I inspire other men and women when I talk about what I’m doing and how I am overcoming difficulties in my business. Each day as a business owner is not going to be perfect, but I have to know that in order for me to reach my goals I have to keep overcoming any fears.”

Have you had to face any challenges being black? 

Ironically yes, there are challenges in being black in general. However, I do not like to be stigmatized and put in this bubble where all black people or black women have a specific type of quality. We are so diverse in all aspects and I like to break those ideals in the minds of people who are not familiar with the ways of the black culture. Sometimes I have to explain why I love to cook healthy food, due to the general food culture Black people in the U.S.A. being so unhealthy. So, I did used to have setbacks within my business as I approached the older generation. Now, many people see the benefits of my business and why I will continue to cook healthy food and always advertise and speak up for a healthier lifestyle.”

Have you ever had to deal with discrimination in the workplace? 

As a cook who did not go to culinary school, I would say I have not really experienced any discrimination. I have an outgoing personality and when I walk in the room I usually demand respect. Coming from a teaching background, I have to own the room. So when people seem to doubt me, I usually help them eliminate that mindset after they’re done talking to me.”

What do you think as a community we should do to support black businesses more? 

As a community, we have to know that in order to become stronger and more cohesive we have to rely on each other.  Especially knowing that there are many communities in this nation who separate themselves from other mainstream societies. For instance, since I’m from Chicago I see the division in the city. There are sides of town where there are predominantly Italians, Koreans, Chinese, Mexican, Puerto Ricans, Russians, Germans, and an array of other backgrounds. They support each other in their communities. They have stores with the language of the country they originate from. Usually when I see black businesses and support is not from the black community, it shows self-hate in my personal opinion. We need as much support as possible because the history of ourselves in this country shows that we have not had the best support starting off. Communities and organizations will always self-destruct from the inside. I would love us to limit that mindset immediately.”

Any advice for young black kids who want to be business owners one day? 

“Since I was a former Economics, Government, and all-around Social Studies teacher. I always say step out on faith. Reach out to those who are in the field you aspire to be in.

“To start your business, it is free. You can start an LLC for free on the IRS website. I am there to help anyone who is ready to start a business. Although, I have not been in business for many many years. I see that there are challenges, and I would love for you all to know the challenges I have suffered, and others have suffered so you can move around more seamlessly.

“We must eliminate the crabs in the barrel of mindset where we are pulling each other down. If you want to become a business owner you have to know that there are people around the world who are just a phone call, group chat, video chat, and email away. There are people all around who are trying to help you and you have to stop being so fearful and just reach out and get as much help as possible.”