Lowcountry Local First Congratulates First Graduating Class of the Community Business Academy


Lowcountry Local First (LLF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit cultivating an economy anchored in local ownership, is inviting all entrepreneurs to participate in the Community Business Academy (CBA), a 12-week business planning and management program that is part of LLF’s Good Enterprises Initiative.

Good Enterprises aims to be a catalyst for reshaping the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to one that provides equitable opportunity for business ownership, in order to transform lives and communities. Good Enterprises consists of 3 main components: 1) The Community Business Academy, 2) Business Acceleration Services, and 3) Credit to Capital.

LLF kicked off the 12-week (36-hour) course taught by expert entrepreneurs that offers hands-on training in basic business planning and management, in Fall 2019. The first class of CBA students, which included 22 locals in diverse industries, graduated from the program on January 21, 2020. The graduates included an electrician, bakery, restaurant, barber, designer and event planner, 2 husband and wife teams, 1 father/son team, and 1 mother/son team. LLF estimates that 75% of the first graduating class will move forward to participate in the second phase of the program, the Business Acceleration Services, with includes one-on-one coaching and personalized workshops.

Quentin Govan of Electric Connection was currently in business when he joined the class. Raquel Padgett (class instructor) introduced him to the City of Charleston’s MBE dept., Charleston County MBE office, Metanoia and several contractors. He was able to seize new jobs and opportunities through these connections.

“Good Enterprises Community Business Academy was a great opportunity for me and my business,” Govan expressed. “I am the owner of Electric Connection, LLC, a small electrical contracting company in the Lowcountry. This program is essential for anybody who wants to start a business and doesn’t know where to start. This program will open many doors for anybody. I witnessed this in my first week of the class. I was awarded a job on my lunch break through Raquel so I really can say she really cares about her students and wants the best for her students. Special guests were brought into the classroom to talk about important business topics. They motivated me to take my business to a whole new level that I had not anticipated. I can go on about this program and how much they are driven to help people make their dreams of business ownership a reality.”

Tina Singleton’s Transformation Table series aims to build community through food by hosting intimate community dinners, teaching plant based raw and vegan cooking classes, and farming.

“I was thrilled to be accepted to the Community Business Academy because I started Transformation Table without a foundation of how to run a business,” Singleton says. “This course helped fill that gap and will give Transformation Table the structure it needs to become a sustainable, mission-driven business. I also gained a group of supportive, diverse, like-minded entrepreneurs who are passionate about their ideas and bringing new and exciting businesses to our communities. I’ve also found businesses to partner with! The business acceleration services that alumni of CBA will participate in ensures that we will continue to have the knowledge and resources necessary to continue growing our businesses. Thank you Lowcountry Local First!”

Harry Pringle introduced Jive Turkey as a food trailer and catering concept to provide a healthier alternative to BBQ.

“CBA was the best business learning experience I ever had a chance to be a part of. Every business owner, small or large will greatly benefit from this program,” according to Pringle.

LLF is now accepting Community Business Academy applicants for the Spring 2020 class, which begins on February 18 and will take place in North Charleston’s Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood. To learn more and attend an information session go to https://goodenterprises.org/. For more information about LLF, visit lowcountrylocalfirst.org.

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