Business majors and brothers Jermaine Dumes ’17 and Jahmaal Dumes ’17 started their business, Down South CaJJun Eats, during the spring of 2017. While the twins are business partners and contributed equally to the business, we asked Jermaine what inspired the brothers’ entrepreneurship. To answer this question, we will have to travel back to his days Southwestern University…and maybe even a little earlier. 

Dumes comes from a family of cooks, including his father. Dumes and his brother wanted to grant their dad’s biggest wish, which was opening their very own restaurant. However, before taking on such a large task, they first focused their innovation on the Southwestern community. The twins and Markell Henderson approached Dr. Alicia Moore, SU professor of education, about their idea, which was the start of E.M.P.I.R.E, a student organization to provide positive social and political context to influence the success of African-American males at Southwestern. E.M.P.I.R.E was “the first black male organization on campus,” Dumes explains. The organization also created and funded a scholarship for black students on campus. Starting such an organization is no small feat, and the process taught Dumes important skills that would benefit him when starting a business. Additionally, while at Southwestern he took classes such as Foundations of Business and Innovations of Business. Lessons he learned in those classes were helpful for founding E.M.P.I.R.E and later on for his business. 

Dumes notes that all of his experiences growing up and at Southwestern helped him develop a clear idea of what he wanted to do with his business, which he sees as not only a form of revenue, but also a way to “[serve as] a role model and supply jobs to people of color,” he describes. Within the next five years, he and his brother hope to open more locations across Texas. What started as a father’s dream for his children has helped many individuals in different ways – from providing young African-American males with a role model or scholarship, to offering employment. Jermaine and Jahmaal Dumes’ labor of love, Down South CaJJun Eats, is only four years old and has a long, bright future ahead of it, as do they.