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Twin Brothers Create a Non Profit That Teaches Black Children How to Swim

According to the USA Swimming Foundation, 64% of African American children, 45% of Hispanic/Latino children, and 40% of Caucasian children have little to no swimming ability. The number is worse in low-income homes, where 79% of kids don’t know how.


Tankproof, is a non-profit that partners with swim schools to offer free lessons for underserved youth. Their goal is to provide access, equity, and opportunity through swimming lessons to make communities safer and even save lives.


Tankproof was founded in 2011 by Louisiana-based twins Thurman and Torrence Thomas. When Thurman was just 9 years old, he nearly drowned at a pool party. After that, his mom enrolled him and his brother in swimming lessons.

Tankproof founders, Thurman and Torrence Thomas

“We believe everyone should have this opportunity,” says Thurman. “Learning how to swim can actually save your life.”

Tankproof has served over 2,350 individuals nation-wide with multiple sites in Louisiana, as well as in Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California. They plan on expanding to five more cities across the country this year.

Tony O. Lawson

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Mother Creates Swimming Cap for Black Hairstyles

Nomvuyo Treffers is the creator of Swimma, a brand of swimming caps designed specifically for hairstyles like dreadlocks, braids, Afros as well as weaves.

The best business ideas solve a problem. Nomvuyo’s problem was that whenever she got in the pool with her two daughters that love to swim, it took forever for her dreadlocks to dry.

She couldn’t find any locally made products and the ones she did find were overseas and expensive.

She decided to create her own. “I started thinking how can it be that in a country like South Africa, with the demographics that we have, that we don’t have a product like this for Black people,” she says.

As with many businesses, finding the right manufacturer is not always easy. Nomvuyo went through ten manufacturers before finding the right one.

She now plans to expand into several other African countries, including Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.

Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Do not be afraid of taking calculated risks.

“When you think of an idea, don’t wait and think – act on it,” she says.

“Whatever gap you see, you should take it and take a chance because that’s what entrepreneurship is about.  Sometimes you have to go with your gut, but obviously market research is critical.”


-Tony O. Lawson

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