ELOCINA Consulting & Customization is a dual business owned by Tawonda Burks.

She combined the names of her daughters to create her business name. Nicole spelled backwards and the “a” is from Arica.

Originally from Chicago, Burks is currently enrolled in a doctoral program for a degree in educational leadership. She also has a master’s degree in business administration from St. Mary’s University.

Burks started her consulting business in 2012. Her services are sought by individuals who are seeking to become entrepreneurs. Her intent is to help people move the vision for their business from the basement to an office. She particularly enjoys consulting with minorities that want to operate their own business.

Burks' passion for business started while she was young. At the age of 10, she set a goal to buy herself a BMX bike. She sold fruits, pies and peanuts on the side of the road. She took the money from those sales and opened an ice snowball stand. Her mother and grandmother were her first investors. She achieved her goal and bought that BMX bike.

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Burks says that her passion is to “bridge the gap” with minority-owned businesses throughout the community. She wants to identify all the disparities and address them. She feels so many people lack business know-how and that’s where her consulting services can be best utilized.

The pandemic revealed to many who were on the fence about opening their own business, to take a “leap of faith,” Burks says. It was either by opportunity or necessity once states were ordered to shut down. Unemployment had become a startling reality.

Burks consults from home, often meeting her client’s business needs right where they are. That might look like a client with an idea, an incomplete business plan or a completed business plan. She’s always ready to “grow them” to the next level.

ELOCINA’s customization business came as a result of sitting home bored while on maternity leave in 2018. It started with her making coffee mugs. That led to the purchase of more equipment. Burks now has the capability to do laser engraving. She makes customized cutting boards, company uniform shirts, hats and other things. Her customization business has skyrocketed to a point that she’s looking to hire someone, she said.

Burks also teaches business courses online. She offers classes in basic business, marketing and entrepreneurship. She also offers an informal course on strategic planning, finance and record-keeping on a case-by-case basis. Many people who start their own small business lack knowledge in those areas, Burks says.

If interested in a growing your business to the next level or you have some customization needs, Burks can be reached at 507-990-7223 or through a contact form online at www.elocina.com.

Katherine Sublett is a freelance writer in Winona.