Partners in Love and Business: Making Marriage and Entrepreneurship Work


Running a business with your spouse and remaining happily married has its ups and downs and for many, may seem like a daunting goal. However, Howard and Mitzi Allen of HaMa Films have demonstrated that couples can work together to build an extraordinary business, still achieve the coveted work-life balance and maintain a happy home life. As guests on this week’s “Likkle Byte Ideas” Show, this dynamic duo discussed some of the secrets that make power couples work and how they have made love and business thrive for more than 30 years.


The Allens’ story was featured as part of The Legacy of Black Entrepreneurship, an initiative launched by SamuelFields Consulting Group, throughout the month of February. It highlights the accomplishments of pioneers in business in Antigua and Barbuda and their contributions to community development.


The concept of couplepreneurship — couples working together as entrepreneurs — is not new in Antigua and Barbuda. Traditionally, many family farms and small enterprises were formed from the combined contributions and talents of both spouses. Studies show that starting a business together can be a sound investment for both spouses’ human capital and reduces potential conflicts of income inequality in the household.


For Howard and Mitzi, their couple-owned business has gone through various cycles of growth and development over the past three decades. The “Sweetest Mango” is based on their love story, how they met as coworkers and built a thriving company. Although this movie ushered them into the spotlight as a power couple in 2002, HaMa Films had already been in operation as a multimedia company for 10 years. The Allens credit strong commitment to their partnership in and out of work as one of the secrets to their long-lasting success. They get to pursue their passion side-by-side as best friends and share the joys of building a legacy in film making. They still maintain the fire that fueled their passions for film making as they look to launch their fifth independent film “Blue” on February 18, 2023.


But their journey has not been without challenges. They face the daily stresses of running a business in a tough economy, the financial risk of uncertainty and the inundation of tasks that must be managed daily. This couple characterizes themselves as like-minded, but caution that the free flow of ideas and creativity that brought them together, has to be carefully managed when running a business.


Mitzi stresses the importance of having a structure and a plan.

“You must come up with a system, with rules and an appreciation for each other’s habits to create a healthy work relationship. As entrepreneurs with so much responsibility, it is easy to blur the lines between our professional and personal relationship. We complement each other and we have clear roles and a common vision and understanding of how the business works. But we always make sure that we build in breaks for some fun to enjoy our personal time together,” she said.


The trailblazing couple gave some advice as to how to make it work in love and business:


Maintain boundaries and professional standards – This couple still holds regular team meetings with agendas and plans to ensure that the business stays on track. When they are on “business time” they follow the agreed upon guidelines and protocols. They also ensure that business concerns do not creep into personal time.


Get professional help – After being in business for more than 30 years, the Allens have a clear idea of their individual strengths and weaknesses. But they recognize their limitations and have sought the services of various professionals to ensure that they can run a profitable business. After a few years of DIY, they recognized that they needed to hire an accountant to ensure that the business could continue to run smoothly.


Define your individual roles – An important part of building a business is the intentional blurring of personal and professional roles. But this has to be managed and couples’ should maintain clear working roles to balance family responsibilities. Luckily, these spouses bring diverse skills, talents and interests to the partnership, so it is easy to assign distinct roles and responsibilities in the business based on their individual strengths. Yet they remain open-minded to their partner’s suggestions and avoid the urge to micromanage each other.


Invest in your business. Howard brings strong entrepreneurial genes to the relationship and is admittedly the “risk taker” based on his family experience in business. The Allens are fully committed to the business and every time they expand the business, they ensure that they are the first to invest in the new venture. They feel strongly that before they ask others to invest in their business, that they must first demonstrate their willingness to invest in themselves.


“Love and business” relationships are on the rise and many power couples are demonstrating that love can survive and thrive in the home and workplace. HaMa Films is built on this couple’s shared passion for film making while fulfilling their mission to build their own business, against a backdrop of a rapidly changing media landscape. Howard and Mitzi have demonstrated that having a romantic partner at work can be an asset. They have learned how to make love and business work to their advantage, by balancing their personal and professional lives.

To view the show click on:


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