New Jersey entrepreneur Adenah Bayou realized her American dream by acquiring a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio and restaurant business.
Bayou came to the United States at the age of 13. She escaped the civil war in Liberia and set out to make a better life for herself. She exceeded expectations and has become one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in New Jersey.
“For me, passion is a key ingredient for success in business,” said Bayou in an interview Black company. “I’m a very hard worker too, and once I make up my mind to do something, I dive in and find out how to be successful. After going through so much in my life, I also understand the importance of taking risks and I’m not afraid to take risks. “
From banking to real estate entrepreneur in New Jersey
After graduating from college, Bayou began her career in banking and climbed the corporate ladder. However, she knew that her success as a black woman would be limited. So she switched to entrepreneurship to pave her own way.
While working at the bank, she bought her first home as an investment property. She used the success of her first investment to add more real estate and larger locations to her real government portfolio.
After mastering the process of buying, selling and renting real estate, Bayou switched to real estate development. In 2012, they partnered to convert the former site of Irvington General Hospital into a residential and retail community.
“Real estate development has been a natural one, especially given my interest in economic development,” says Bayou. “I saw urban redevelopment as a means to support the economic revitalization of my community on a larger scale.”
Bayou has now amassed a $ 220 million commercial and residential real estate development portfolio in New Jersey, according to Shoppe Black.
Entry into gastronomy
Bayou used the profits from her real estate projects to fund her goals of opening an IHOP in New Jersey. At age 27, she became one of the youngest IHOP franchisees in the United States. By 2010, their IHOP franchise was one of the most profitable in the Northeast.
Bayou now owns and operates several IHOP franchises across New Jersey. Her success has made her one of the biggest employers in her community.
“One of the programs I want to do is invite women, especially black women, into the franchise process,” says Bayou. “The way you make change in a community is by giving people access to economic opportunity.”
In 2017, Bayou decided to expand their presence in the restaurant industry. She teamed up with a friend and opened her own restaurant, Cornbread, in Maplewood, New Jersey. In 2019, she partnered with Walmart to expand her signature array of restaurants to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with locations in Walmart stores in West Mifflin, Greensburg, and Tarentum.
Success in real estate, restaurants and in life
Bayou’s exceptional accomplishments have earned her many significant opportunities and awards. In 2015, she was appointed to the Small Business and Agriculture Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New Yor. She was also listed on Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list. In 2019, the National Restaurant Association presented Bayou with the Face of Diversity Award.
For those who have a business idea or want to turn their goals into reality, bayou offers these words of wisdom: “There is no right time to start something. Start now, don’t finish and know your “why”. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. But you have to go on. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they worked every day. “
Visit Black Enterprise on April 22nd, 2021 for its inaugural Wealth Building & Real Estate Summit (A Virtual Experience). Register here.