A passionate advocate for minorities and women in business, Kieta Mpolo Iriarte-Amin founded Mpolo Business Solutions in 2012. By providing technical assistance as well as grant and project management consultation, she has been a critical supporter for women entrepreneurs and educators, schools and nonprofit organizations in Baltimore. Kieta’s also a teacher, a Board Approved Business Manager for Baltimore City Public Schools and a mother of three.
Straight after getting her master’s degree in nonprofit management, Kieta was managing grants full-time at Baltimore City Public Schools. Five years in, however, she began to find her 8-5 job constraining.
“The type of culture is very heavy; you’re not free to do what you want,” Kieta says. “I also had a high-risk pregnancy at the time too. It was very stressful. All those things tied together.”
So Kieta quit her full-time job as a grant manager and founded Mpolo Business Solutions. This Minority-Owned Business Enterprise provides business management, technical assistance, and financial administration support for nonprofits.
Since then, she’s managed and reported on over $300 million in federal and state grants and has supported about 50 nonprofits and 25 schools in Baltimore City, walking them through entire grant fund cycles. Kieta has been a consultant for the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund (BCYF) over the past eight months. She also manages the funds for all Judy Centers.
Kieta joined Impact Hub as a Community Lead six months after the space opened its doors in 2014. She saw IHB as an opportunity to gain visibility in the community.
“I joined a family,” she says. “Everybody here is so encouraging of you, they want to see how you’re doing, they support you. Whatever type of support I needed here, they were able to offer.”
Describing herself as an “inside the house type person,” she says that the space encouraged her to get outside of her comfort zone.
“It forces me to be that person who’s the face of the organization, who’s able to start a conversation,” Kieta says. “Just practicing that everyday made me comfortable talking with people. There are a number of people here who I’ve met and I’ve worked with that I still work with to this day, years later. I see them out and about, there’s always a hug or ‘how’s everything? how are you?’ Definitely long-standing relationships.”
Kieta’s eager to continue growing her network with other women and minority-owned businesses, and aspiring entrepreneurs. Through her new initiative BMore Empowered, Kieta works with her co-founder, Nazaahah Amin, a yoga therapist and former IHB member, to teach girls of color aged 10 through 16 both business management and self-care.
“If my mind isn’t straight, if I’m not taking time for myself and doing self-care, there’s no way I can think about my business,” she says.