Joanna Gaines. Rihanna. Serena Williams. And south Louisiana’s own Sevetri Wilson. What do they share in common? They’re among those named to Inc.’s Female Founders 100, a list of the 100 women the magazine says are building America’s most innovative and ambitious companies.
In 2009, Wilson founded her first company, Solid Ground Innovations, in Baton Rouge a year after graduating from the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. The management consulting agency provided traditional public relations and marketing assistance as well as helping businesses embrace corporate social responsibility. In February of this year, she rebranded an SGI product known as ExemptMeNow into its own New Orleans-based company, Resilia. The company’s software helps new nonprofits file for incorporation and tax-exemption, but also serves existing organizations through a maintenance and compliance platform. An enterprise platform designed for grant-deploying entities helps manage relationships.
The Female Founders 100 recognition is just the latest milestone for Wilson. She bootstrapped her first company, SGI, to seven figures with zero capital, and she raised over $3 million for Resilia, which launched to the public in 2016. She is on record as the first black woman in New Orleans to raise more than $1 million in venture capital.
Wilson tells The Network that strong mentors and advisers, course-correcting quickly in difficult times and building the right team around her have been critical to her success. She notes that many of her mentors were very open about their experiences, challenges and successes. “Although I still have experienced many failures along the way,” she says, “I feel I was able to sidestep many potential hazards in the road because of taking their advice.”