As the population of the Jacksonville region continues to expand, so do the occupations that support this growth. Entrepreneurship serves as the region’s backbone and offers opportunities for those willing to accept risk and work hard to achieve their business goals.

Industry Report

The entrepreneurial class is an important component of the country’s economic growth. According to chron.com, “Small businesses contribute to local economies by bringing growth and innovation to the community in which the business is established. Small businesses also help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities to people who may not be employable by larger corporations.  [They] tend to attract talent who invent new products or implement new solutions for existing ideas.” It is estimated that entrepreneurs account for 20% of total job creation and in 2020, startups in the U.S. created over 3 million new jobs.

The Jacksonville region provides a strong, supportive environment for entrepreneurs. As they execute their business vision and meet unmet market needs, they have a demand for talent that can grow and evolve as they do. Each of Earn Up’s target and support industries have an entrepreneurial ecosystem that complements the larger companies in Northeast Florida. The JAX Chamber’s Entrepreneurial Growth Division provides mentoring, entrepreneurial education, consulting and networking opportunities to advance the success of entrepreneurs at every stage of business development.

Entrepreneurs possess a variety of skills that allow them to be nimble. They adjust quickly to external circumstances and are masters of strategy, time management and consistency.  They are creative and on the cusp of trends that could affect the product or services they offer.  There is ample opportunity to start, run and grow a business in Northeast Florida.  An individual can choose to create an expansive presence in the market, such as Fanatics, or craft a small family business that becomes part of a generational legacy such as Congaree & Penn.

Entrepreneurialism Organizations in the Region

To keep yourself relevant, it’s essential to keep your credentials up-to-date and build on your skill set.

Joanne KazmierskiFounder and CEO, Global Business Logistix

You owe it to yourself to make sure you’re happy and find the things that excite you.

Noah EmmonsSoftware Engineering Consultant, Entrepreneur

The most rewarding part is helping athletes meet and exceed their goals.

Chad CahoyOwner, Jacksonville Strength & Athletics LLC

You can take your business as far as you want if you have the right mindset.

Printella BankheadFounder and President, EBS Security

Joanne Kazmierski

Founder and CEO of Global Business Logistix

By demonstrating determination, perseverance, awareness and belief in herself, entrepreneur Joanne Kazmierski, CTL, is in the driver’s seat of a thriving career.

Kazmierski is CEO of Global Business Logistix, LLC. She founded the Jacksonville- based company in 2014 after working in the port, logistics, supply chain and transportation industries.

Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in marketing and transportation/logistics, she established the company to provide project leadership in the international trade and logistics industry with a focus on workforce and economic development. Her customers include nonprofits and educational institutions.

“I love what I do – transportation and logistics feeds my soul,” said Kazmierski, who was named JAX Chamber’s Transportation & Logistics Council’s 2022 Small Business Leader of the Year.

The industry offers dynamic, challenging and fulfilling career opportunities with a wide variety of career trajectories. Transportation focuses on the movement of people and products via road, air, rail and water. Logistics covers a broader scope of activities that facilitate the management of product movement within the supply chain.

Kazmierski earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Administration from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and initially managed successful multi-family communities. While working to bring bus services to one of her communities, Kazmierski became intrigued by the transportation industry.

Kazmierski spent more than three years as marketing coordinator for Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), the independent agency responsible for public transit in Jacksonville. She then spent 11 years as a community outreach manager at the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT), Florida’s largest container port by volume and one of the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports.

Kazmierski operates Global Business Logistix as a “solopreneur,” utilizing subconsultants for special project needs. With a global-thinking focus, the consulting company helps businesses and organizations achieve the growth they desire. Global Business Logistix is known for its work with the Florida Supply Chain Summit and offers state and federal grant writing and administration. Diversifying and offering niche services has provided opportunities for the company’s success. Kazmierski to date has written and administered more than $42 million in federal and state grants that serve nearly 10,000 children in Northeast Florida afterschool, summer and food programs.

Global Business Logistix has enjoyed consistent growth over the past eight years, thanks to Kazmierski’s focus on accreditation and professional development. She
earned the internationally recognized Certification in Transportation and Logistics (CTL) and attends numerous professional development programs.

“To keep yourself relevant, it’s essential to keep your credentials up-to-date and build on your skill set,” Kazmierski said.

Kazmierski credits her success to tenacious networking and encourages everyone to build and maintain their professional network. Her networking includes keeping in contact with former colleagues and making new connections. She frequently volunteers on behalf of industry organizations and also generously gives her time mentoring rising entrepreneurs.

“If you’re going to succeed in this industry, it is vitally important to nurture your network,” Kazmierski said. “If you don’t succeed, you haven’t done your networking well.”

Printella Bankhead

President and Founder of EBS Security

Printella Bankhead finds passion, purpose and success in entrepreneurial career.

As a child in Alabama, Printella Bankhead was told she couldn’t succeed.

“I was told, ‘It’s a man’s world – you can’t do it,’” Bankhead said. “I wasn’t expected to achieve anything, and I wanted to be different than that.”

Bankhead, president and founder of EBS Security, overcame obstacles to achieve success. EBS provides security services to commercial, residential and government organizations. The company also offers bodyguard services and long term and short term security services. The company currently has more than 78 employees. Bankhead was named the 2022 overall JAX Chamber Small Business Leader of the Year.

After high school graduation, Bankhead got married and relocated to Jacksonville. Five years later, she was working, going to school and raising two young daughters on her own following a divorce. Bankhead was determined to find a better way to support her family. She found her purpose in life when she took on a job as a security officer.

“There are so many opportunities in security,” Bankhead said. “I enjoy that it’s not the same daily routine.”

Bankhead began working in security full time and enrolled in Florida State College at Jacksonville, earning a degree in Criminal Justice. She was promoted to supervisor and worked for the same company for seven years. The company provided security for the church Bankhead attended.

“My pastor asked me if I had ever thought of starting my own security company,” she said. “He told me I would be a natural at this.”

Bankhead launched EBS in 2002. While she was knowledgeable and skilled in the security industry, Bankhead was not experienced on how to run a business. She credits the company’s growth to her involvement with the JAX Chamber, the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center (JWBC) and the Small Business Administration. As a business owner, she achieved success by working hard, leading by example and maintaining high standards, often making sacrifices to get the job done.

“You can take your business as far as you want if you have the right mindset,” Bankhead said.

EBS provides armed and unarmed security. The company has assisted at high profile events attended by politicians, athletes and celebrities, working with police and special security forces.

“Many people don’t realize security is a requirement at most events,” Bankhead said.

EBS has faced numerous challenges during the pandemic, when closures and cancelations eliminated many of the company’s contracts. Bankhead had to establish new protocols to ensure her team members were safe and able to do their jobs. Bankhead also found herself back in uniform and working onsite closely with her team. Her resilience has allowed EBS to thrive.

“You can’t always be in the office,” she said. “You may be the CEO, but it all comes down to you.”

During her career, Bankhead has received numerous honors including being named the 2015 SBA’s Minority Business Person of the Year.

The works of authors Les Brown, Zig Ziegler and Wayne Dyer have offered encouragement. Her own experiences inspired her to write a book, “Staying on Course in Business and Life.”

Bankhead has found being an entrepreneur offers many benefits including the freedom and means to care for her father during his final years.

“For me, this was the most rewarding,” she said.

Chad Cahoy

Owner of Jacksonville Strength & Athletics, LLC

Coach Chad Cahoy aligns with a successful career that highlights his true talents
Business owner Chad Cahoy is enjoying great success but it hasn’t come without challenges. Like an Olympic athlete, the personal trainer and coach has demonstrated dedication, commitment, sacrifice and perseverance to accomplish his business goals.

Cahoy’s business, Jacksonville Strength & Athletics, LLC, was recently voted one of the best 26 gyms in Jacksonville in 2021 by Expertise.com. In less than two years, the gym is financially stable and thriving.

Originally from Wyoming, Cahoy is a retired Navy Veteran with a lifelong interest in fitness and athletics. During his 20-year Naval career, Cahoy served as a command fitness leader, running group classes and working with active duty personnel who had fallen out of fitness standards.

“I have a passion for helping people become the best versions of themselves,” Cahoy said. “I’m going to do my best to make you better.”

After Cahoy retired in 2014, he focused on education and experience to become a high level coach and trainer. He attended Keiser University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine and Fitness Technology, and an associate’s degree in Physical Therapy. While attending Keiser and after graduation, Cahoy worked at several fitness centers before deciding to open his own gym.

With all the paperwork in place, Cahoy was set to open in April 2020. Unfortunately, the opening date occurred the same week as fitness centers in Florida were shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. After a six-week delay, Jacksonville Strength & Athletics opened in May 2020. It offers personal training, group classes and Olympic weightlifting. Even though gyms reopened, not everyone was ready to return.

“I knew it was going to be tough, especially during the times we are in,” Cahoy said. “I did whatever I could do to keep the doors open.”

Cahoy took on a full-time job at another business, and offered coaching at his gym from 5:30-8 p.m. In time, he was able to leave the other job and focus solely on his gym. His typical work day begins before 6 a.m. and ends after 8 p.m. Despite the long hours, he enjoys coaching athletes of all ages and abilities.

“The most rewarding part of coaching is helping athletes meet and exceed their goals,” Cohoy said. “To see the look on their faces when they do is priceless.”

For those considering a fitness career, Cahoy recommends extensive education and training. Along with the ability to motivate, he believes a good coach demonstrates compassion and empathy. With numerous fitness career pathways, Cahoy advises having a unique niche. Jacksonville Strength & Athletics is the only Olympic weightlifting focused facility in Jacksonville and home to Jacksonville Weightlifting, a USA Weightlifting Club.

Cahoy’s athletes include his son, Caden, who became interested in weightlifting at age 9 after going to a cross-fit gym with his dad. Now 17, the Mandarin High School student is a member of the USA Weightlifting team and recently competed at the Junior Pan-Am Championships in Mexico. Caden Cahoy has his sights set on one day competing in the Olympics.

To learn more about Jacksonville Strength & Athletics, visit jacksonvilleweightlifting.com or follow @jaxstrengthandathletics.

Renee Parenteau


Making others look good inspires picture perfect career for Renee Parenteau

Inspired by art, fashion and beauty, Renee Parenteau enjoys a successful career as a professional photographer and makeup artist, bringing skill, artistry and enthusiasm to every project.

“I’m fortunate that I can incorporate my passion and lifestyle into my work,” said Parenteau, owner of Renee Parenteau Photography in Springfield. “I love getting to know people and helping them bring out their best so that they feel and look great for the photo.”
Parenteau opened the studio when she moved to Jacksonville in 2007.

She was recognized as the JAX Chamber Downtown Council’s Small Business Leader of the Year in 2016 and as a Woman of Influence by the Jacksonville Business Journal in 2014.

Fluent in Spanish, French and English, her services include corporate photography, commercial shoots, special events, family photos and individual headshots. Parenteau’s offerings include a photo package which gives her clients the "celebrity experience" with professional makeup and wardrobe changes.

“My niche is the celebrity experience,” Parenteau said. “Every detail – makeup, hair, lighting and clothing – is important in a picture.”

During her career, Parenteau has traveled the world working with numerous celebrities including Kenny Chesney, John Travolta, Roberta Flack and Billy Horschel. Before relocating to Jacksonville, she also served clients in Los Angeles in business, entertainment, advertising and professional sports.

“My career has given me a great opportunity to know so many amazing people,” Parenteau said.

Growing up in Oregon and California, Parenteau attended the Fashion Institute in Portland after high school. After visiting a makeup studio located next door to the Fashion Institute, Parenteau knew that she wanted to work professionally as a makeup artist. Parenteau relocated to Seattle and enrolled in cosmetology school and began working with the Seattle Opera doing theater makeup. She went to work at a salon where the owner’s husband was a photographer and gained experience doing makeup for photo shoots. A move to Los Angeles followed where she enjoyed success working as a makeup artist in the advertising industry.

“A makeup artist is very valued as part of the production team,” Parenteau said.

Working side-by-side with many talented photographers sparked Parenteau’s interest in the business of photography. She studied photography at Escuela de Fotografia in Madrid, Spain, shifting her career focus prior to moving to Jacksonville.
“It was important to me to diversify my skills,” Parenteau said.

For those interested in a photography career, Parenteau recommends a formal education as well as working alongside a photographer whose work they admire. Be aware of current trends, such as video and AI, be prepared to pivot and understand how to run a business. A lifelong entrepreneur, Parenteau doesn’t have employees and does all of the work herself – prepping for shoots, processing photos, answering inquires, booking, bookkeeping and marketing.

“It’s important to produce great photos, but you also need to know how to price, bill and market your services,” Parenteau said. "Use social media platforms to promote your business and also to learn what other creative businesses are doing. Most importantly, know your value. Always keep your value by charging a competitive rate or coming to an agreement in trade of equal or greater value than your fee.”