Tragedy struck a third time when Brown was laid off in 2009. At this point, she knew it was time to reassess again. Using her grandmother's recipe for sweet potato pie to make cheesecakes in a cupcake form, Brown started Conyers, Ga.-based CheeseCaked. What she didn't expect was that finally owning her own business would finally bring sweetness to a life full of bitter misfortune.
Location: Conyers, Ga.
2012 Projected Revenue: Undisclosed, but sales have increased 50 percent since the company started