Miami-Dade Business Navigator helps local barber stay a cut above.

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Inspired by his own sister, who used to cut his hair at home, Sergei Grant began to foster his blossoming career. Having bought tools to trim his own hair and beard, he soon expanded to serving friends and family.

After a few years and a lot of thinking, Grant felt it was time to let his dreams flourish and turn his thoughts into reality. In 2014, he attended beauty school and began investing in his future full time. When he was let go from work at a barber shop, Grant decided he would bring his services to his clients.

“My inspiration and motivation were going through a lot of different things in life,” said Grant. “So that inspired me to go ahead and become a mobile barber, to bring things to a different level of grooming.”

Now the owner of his own business, Exclusive Tonsorial Services, Grant has become the official barber for the TV realty show Love & Hip-Hop: Miami.

Grant wanted to make sure he was on the right track to success, so he reached out to the Miami-Dade Business Navigator (MDBN). It’s a local initiative funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and led by the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at FIU Business to help underserved local entrepreneurs in Miami launch, grow and revitalize their businesses.

“Making sure that all my paperwork is in order, making sure all the things that I need to do for my business are on point,” said Grant. “They've been there to help in all the ways that I need for my business.”

As many businesses struggle with building enough capital in the early stages, Grant isn’t discouraged and keeps a positive attitude through it all. He credits his mentors from the MDBN for supporting his needs.

“Know that it’s going to be hard work,” said Grant. “As long as you take yourself seriously and pay attention to what the mentors tell you, it’s going to be smooth sailing from there.”

The MDBN works with six experienced organizations to support community needs, including Ascendus, Branches, the Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade, the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, Prospera and StartUP FIU Procurement.

“The most satisfying thing about being an entrepreneur is the freedom, the happiness,” said Grant. “The way I can go about life just being free, being happy with what I do.”