Often, startup stories focus more on the product and company than they do the people that made them possible. We at The Startup Collaborative have found that our mission statement to allow everyone an unbiased investment thesis to building their own tech-centric company allows us to step aside and let the entrepreneurs be center stage. The Behind the Founder campaign is meant to do just that —  let the stories of those who call themselves TSC Fellows be told from their own perspective.

What’s your name?

Paska Juma

Where are you from?

South Sudanese American

How did your upbringing influence you today?

Growing up my family did not have much at a point there were about 11 people living in a 3 bedroom apartment. Ranging from young to old. I began taking care of my siblings at age 9 since my mother worked long hours sometimes days trying to meet ends meet while living in California. This made me grow up very quickly but also learn to be quick on my feet. This is where I believe my entrepreneurial drive came from being able to make something out of nothing where there the fridge was empty or not I would make sure me and my siblings had dinner that night.

Whether you’ve met them or not, who is one REAL person that has influenced you?

Buzzama Saint John she’s worked at top companies like Apple, Uber and now the CMO Of Endeavor. She embodies walking in your purpose while still never letting go of your culture. She is a fierce, eloquent, loving and unstoppable Black woman. Everything I aspire to be and more.

Who is one FICTIONAL character that has inspired your life/career and why?

My fictional character would be Storm from X-Men because she can affect the atmosphere around her. I want to be able to change the entire environment around me.

From a sketch on a napkin to officially starting up, what triggered the inception of your company?

Before forming Jamila I was frustrated with the assortment of Beauty products that my local stores had to offer. I always knew I would want to start a business it was a matter of which concept. I was highly knowledgeable in the area of cosmetics and hair care so I ran with it.

How did the founding team meet?

I knew all of the members of my current squad before [starting up]. After sharing my vision just to get some feedback they fell in love with the idea 💡 and asked to help out any way that they could.

Within The Startup Collaborative, what level was the most challenging for you, your company and why?

There has not been a tough level yet, lots of work but nothing challenging.

Within The Startup Collaborative, what level has been the most rewarding for you, your company and why?

Customer interviews were the most rewarding. This pushed me to really test my hypothesis and get around wonderful people.

Presently, what does a typical day look like for you and your company?

We typically strategize for upcoming projects or events like the one we just went to in New York Curl Fest. We are constantly looking for the best vendors and manufacturers. We are growing our social media influence especially Instagram and keeping each other accountable.

What’s next for you and your company?

We are hard at work creating our first product a deep conditioner that will cater to African American hair and building out our platform that will allow for us to distribute to areas across the world.

See? Everyone Can Startup!