Entrepreneur Spotlight: LaRae Martinez


LaRae Martinez started her business, 52Eighty Entertainment, as a hobby in the late 90s when she was helping a friend who owned a record label with some marketing and promotional materials. Fast forward to 2014, and she happened to be at the Blair Caldwell Research Library one afternoon when she stumbled upon a RMMFI info session. LaRae joined Class #12 of RMMFI’s Business Launch Boot Camp and turned her hobby into an official business.

After a successful business launch, 52Eighty Entertainment did very well, with LaRae earning recognition on Westword’s 2016 “best of” list for an event called BoomBapTricks, a community event that provoked conversations around race, class, and community. Prior to the pandemic, 52Eighty Entertainment successfully averaged 30+ events annually, with a focus on providing local small venues and artists of color opportunities to thrive.

In response to the 2020 pandemic, LaRae decided to pivot her business to offer marketing and promotional expertise for small businesses. She’s going back to school to earn a BA in Digital Audiences, and she started a new podcast, Solopreneur, in February 2021 to highlight small businesses in the community.

LaRae is passionate about supporting small business owners and remains deeply involved in the RMMFI community. She serves on the Bamboo Club Leadership Team, volunteers as a mentor for fellow entrepreneurs, and helps recruit new program participants as a RMMFI Outreach Specialist.