TAMPA, Fla. –  A Tampa business accepted into the 5508 Small Business Incubator Program is using the opportunity to make an impact beyond the Bay area. 

What You Need To Know

  •  Accent Styles Boutique owner Anji Degante was inspired by trip to Kenya

  •  She launched a African clothing business as part of the 5508 small business incubator program

  • The business has been supporting 300+ orphans in Kenya

​Anji Degante, the owner of Accent Styles Boutique, has been inspired ever since her 2014 trip to Kenya.

She launched her African clothing business three years ago and now a portion of those proceeds benefit orphan children in that community. 

"The Maasai tribe that I lived with were extremely traditional," she said. "If they did not make it they did not wear it."

Degante says she learned a lot about Kenyan culture while living there. 

"I've seen alot of things that I wanted to improve," she said. I thought that I could change Kenya but I feel like Kenya changed me. It made me a better person. It made me more conscious. It made me take a look into sustainable fashion. It made me look at ways to create cultural retention programs."

After two years in the small business incubator program, Tampa Hillsborough Executive Action Plan CEO Derrick Blue says Degante's business has become a bankable small business. 

"We have a lot of success stories from individuals that started off with laptops as coworkers in one of our spaces to now being seven figure companies," Blue said. 

As she continues to be a success, Degante has been giving back to the community that influenced her brand. 

A portion of the proceeds at her shop are helping more than 300 children at a Kenyan oprhanage with their educatin, uniforms and food. Degante says she felt compelled to step in and help when the orphanage's leader passed away. 

She also opened a library in Nairobi, Kenya with books donated from St. Petersburg and Tampa. 

"They are definitely like my adopted children I absolutely love them," Degante said. 

She credits her success both locally and abroad to the opportunity she has with 5508.

"One of the things that I love about the rent being so affordable is that I'm able to buy more product, I'm able to hire more employees and I'm able to donate so much of my time," she said. 

Time and effort she says is fueling our local economy while providing resources and a future for orphans in that Kenyan village.