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What’s Mouji Boulanger’s Why? Access

IC100 Award-Winning Construction Company Empowers Tradespeople without College Degrees

By ICIC | March 20, 2024

Women’s History Month (WHM) is a time dedicated to celebrating the contributions that women have made throughout the history of the United States. Women have influenced and advanced every field, oftentimes being required to earn their roles in workplaces dominated by men. The women who broke gender barriers and laid the path toward diverse and equitable hiring practices are among those honored during WHM. The past winners of the Inner City 100 award include several women who have broken barriers in the construction industry, like Barb Smith, Jennifer Pinck, and Stephanie Hickman. Mouji Boulanger is a recent award winner whose passion for helping others has continued this trend.

Boulanger is the Founder and President of Create, Enjoy, Inspire, Inc. (CEI), a woman-owned construction company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The company specializes in projects up to $5 million in the healthcare, senior living, and commercial sectors. From the very beginning of her 25-year career, Boulanger felt a strong sense of pride working in an industry that did not require a college degree to earn a good income that could support a family. However, she noticed a shift in general construction toward requiring more candidates to have higher education qualifications to be hired. Boulanger decided to increase her leadership in the industry by starting her own company that would provide the same access to professional growth that she saw in her early career. Over time, she came to realize that this is what motivates her; it is her why. She expressed, “My why is to help people move from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’ by empowering them to do what makes their heart sing.”

A Commitment to Building People

CEI helps tradespeople without college degrees advance into leadership roles in project management and superintendent positions. The company has been driven by this mission since the first day its doors opened in 2016. Although Boulanger’s own career path included obtaining a master’s degree in construction management and engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder, she learned how to build a building by interacting with working superintendents who did not have degrees. Seeing the value of coming up through the trades to earn a leadership position as supervisor or superintendent inspired the culture that is now present in CEI.

“The most rewarding part of my work is not the buildings. It’s the people and helping the people grow.”

The company focuses its recruitment on creating employment opportunities for those who did not go to college. Once hired, employees are assigned to tasks using a strengths-based approach so that each day, an individual spends about 70% of their time doing what they enjoy the most. CEI also offers training for life skills like personal budgeting and tuition assistance for those who want to add a degree to their resume. Boulanger has taken this comprehensive approach to the success of her employees because she wants the best for them on and off the job. She states, “The most rewarding part of my work is not the buildings. It’s the people and helping the people grow.”

From Building People to Building Business

Boulanger’s commitment to her mission and her community has led to the success of her business. CEI’s four-year growth rate of 3,719.70% earned the company the number two ranking in its debut appearance on ICIC’s Inner City 100 Awards list, which annually recognizes the 100 fastest-growing businesses located in under-resourced communities across the United States, in 2023. Boulanger purposefully chose a location in an underserved area as the headquarters for her business. Working with her neighbors and community leaders to keep the neighborhood clean and less intimidating to her clients has built trust in her community and contributed to exceptional revenue growth.

“When I stepped foot in the [IC100] room and met so many people there, I was elated to find that these are my people! This is where I belong.”

Boulanger attended the IC100 Awards ceremony held in December in Miami, Florida. After meeting fellow award winners and members of the Inner City Alumni Network (ICAN), she stated, “Through the development of my career, which I’ve been really intentional about, I’ve never felt I’ve met my community of like-minded business people; not in my industry, not in my journeys, not in my mentoring, never. And when I stepped foot in the [IC100] room and met so many people there, I was elated to find that these are my people! This is where I belong.”

Boulanger’s emphasis on building people first, and then building a business has been the key to her accomplishments. Her story is a testament to the fact that success comes when you focus on building relationships, helping people grow, and working towards a greater purpose.

About the IC100 Awards

Since 1999, ICIC has identified and honored the 100 fastest-growing businesses located in under-resourced communities through the prestigious Inner City 100 (IC100) awards. Throughout this period, ICIC has had the privilege of learning about and highlighting more than 1,000 remarkable business leaders and companies from across the United States. These firms have proven to be catalysts for job growth and promoters of a thriving, inclusive economy, even amidst challenging circumstances. Furthermore, they have actively contributed to the enhancement of their communities by generously donating their time and resources to local organizations and charitable causes.

Learn more about the IC100 Awards and eligibility criteria for this year’s list at at Don’t miss the chance to apply or nominate an entrepreneur for this prestigious recognition and join a community of changemakers!


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