Cutting through inequities: Houston business owner inspiring next generation of diverse leaders

Here's what we know

HOUSTON – Outside of Madison High School in south Houston, if you hear buzzing mowers and weed whackers, Bryan Smart is likely the one behind the buzz.

“We keep neighborhoods clean throughout the city,” Smart said.

He is the founder of SmartScaping Landscaping and Design, and his business is producing a lot of green.

“The initial investment was about $4,000, now we are doing six to seven figure type of deals,” he said.

The 34-year-old got his start out in the field.

“I was one of those kids that got an internship,” Smart recalled. “I was one of the kids who got to see folks in leadership positions.”

He’s hoping one day he can pass the mower.

“The idea is, as we build I find the guy to take my place and he finds the guy to take his place,” Smart said.

The “Smart” way is a co-op program.

“It really laid the foundation,” said college student Rebekah Hodge.

The college student is one of several interns in the program. The positions provide training on how to run a business and it pays $15 an hour.

“I learned about procurement, contracts, and how they work,” Hodge said. “I learned about corporations and the difference between an LLC and an S corp and a C corp.”

Leo Simon now has dreams of opening his own gym.

“Two things I learned are to be responsible and keep things in check,” Simon added.

“How do we impact lives in positive ways?” Smart asked. “Cutting through inequities to grow the next generation of diverse leaders.”

“Because I’ve seen him do it,” Hodge said. “Now, I feel empowered to help other people do it.”

To learn more about SmartScaping Cares initiatives, click here.

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