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UrbanUplift: uplifting local businesses

“UrbanUplift Productions Co-founders! From left to right: Madison, Yusra, Veda, Zoe.”
Courtesy of UrbanUplift
“UrbanUplift Productions Co-founders! From left to right: Madison, Yusra, Veda, Zoe.”

UrbanUplift is a local non-profit that aims to uplift businesses around Aurora and Naperville.

Four Metea Valley students – Yusra Mulla, Zoe Rountree, Madison Monroe, and Veda Kodithala – took the initiative to start the company UrbanUplift. UrbanUplift is a local non-profit that aims to uplift businesses around Aurora and Naperville.

The founders have a clear idea of their ‘why’ and are dedicated to providing for their community to the best of their ability. Rountree believes that it is important to uplift local business not only because it makes for a more engaging community, and it benefits real people on both sides of a purchase. On one side of the purchase, the buyer is more involved in the community and is supporting a small business. On the other side of the purchase, the seller is gaining clientele and a means of income.

“I feel like when you uplift these companies and businesses in your community, you’re kind of unifying the community together on both ends,” Advertising Manager and Public Relations Director Zoe Rountree said.

The company owners took the opportunity to help their community, skillfully utilizing their knowledge in marketing which they gained through their time on The Mane.

“First of all, we’re part of the Mane, so we already create segments and commercials. And we have that knowledge of making videos and editing so we kind of wanted to take all of our passions and kind of combine [them] together. So we created UrbanUplift.” Marketing and Social Media Marketing Director Yusra Mulla said.

Armed with their unique expertise and skill set, the founders joined forces to create commercials. Currently, the team is working on a commercial for the National Guard. With their goals in mind, the founders have big dreams for the future.

“One of the biggest places we see ourselves as UrbanUplift is, obviously, all over the country, whether we keep [the company] as a nonprofit or whether we turn it into a profitable company. We do see a major company with, hopefully, in the future, lots of employees and [us] still working together.’ Rountree said.

UrbanUplift not only promotes many aspects of the local community, it also gives four high school students a chance to carry out their dreams and passion. This company strengthens producer-customer bonds within Naperville and Aurora as well as bonds of friendship between the founders.

Videographer and Videography Manager Madison Monroe says, “I mean, I’ve always liked making videos since I was a kid, so meeting [the co-founders] and [realizing] we all like making videos… the idea just kind of came together, that we should use our passions to benefit other people.”

The founders noticed the dire condition local businesses were in, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. Communications and Finance Director Veda Kodithala explains that the group of friends realized that these small businesses needed a new take on marketing and “a little extra kick to help get out there”.

“So we’re trying our best to impact our community and do what we can with the skills that we’ve gained from The Mane and do our part in helping Aurora,” Kodithala said.

UrbanUplift strives to help the downtrodden be seen and the founders have the full intention to carry out their mission.

“It lets people know about who’s in their community and who’s there to help them out when they need it. Because businesses are all around us. And I think we overlook it sometimes.” Monroe said.

Contact UrbanUplift and send in a request through their Instagram ( Email and website linked on Instagram page.

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About the Contributor
Dhiya is a sophomore and a reporter for The Stampede. She enjoys creative writing, music, art, and spending time with friends. She is also a classical dancer and spends an unnecessary amount of time daydreaming about and watching Tamil cinema.

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