Lowcountry Local First (LLF), a nonprofit focused on economic development centered around local-ownership, has graduated its second class of entrepreneurs from its 12-week Community Business Academy (CBA). Nineteen graduates completed the Spring Academy, including a local pet store, tour company, artist, catering business and more. The CBA is the first phase of the organization’s Good Enterprises Initiative that launched in the fall of 2019. Good Enterprises is 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. Three program phases walk current and aspiring entrepreneurs through a Community Business Academy, followed by a year-round suite of tailored Business Acceleration Services, and an optional Credit to Capital program when graduates are ready to pursue financial or investment opportunities.
“I’m proud of the Community Business Academy Spring 2020 graduates for several reasons,” says Raquel Padgett, Program Director and the academy’s lead instructor. “Their tenacity and dedication emerged as we had to pivot from the classroom to an online format due to Covid-19. Then, I watched the students maneuver through economic and employment uncertainty, homeschooling their children, losing loved ones to the coronavirus, experiencing heartbreak and frustration after the murder of George Floyd and the other murders that preceded. Some of our students are healthcare workers and caregivers putting in 15-hour work days. Through all of this, 19 unrelenting students attended online class, completed their assignments and graduated!”
All entrepreneurs in the program participated in an Executive Summary contest and three winners received special recognition during a recent online graduation ceremony. One winner was Emma Cromedy who co-owns local catering business Carolima’s with her sister. “As you know, it’s been quite challenging during this pandemic,” says Emma. “Writing the executive summary statement assisted us with thinking outside of the box during these times. We have incorporated live cooking demos that have assisted us with organically growing our followers on social media and our customer base.”
2020 Spring Community Business Academy Graduates:
– Lydia Bracken, Five Minutes Peace
– Janice Burch, Work Soul Flow
– Emma Cromedy, Carolima’s
– Monique Deniro, Rich Made Easy
– Tim Falvey, Uncle Tim’s Bench
– Tomeaka Faldger, Proximity
– Cleveland Frasier, Frasier-Co.
– Charles Grant, Legacy
– Lauren Hammond, Better Get Packing
– Walton Jones, Good Guy Personal Services
– Bernard Kelly, United Brokers Global
– Skyelynn Landry, ByoSolutions
– Kristine Luke, Park Pets
– Erin Noble, E.V.E. Esthetics
– Lisa Robinson, Black Expressions, Inc.
– Laci Robinson, Black Expressions, Inc.
– Diana Saillant, Saillant Language Consulting
– Denise Singleton, Lillie’s Sea & Soul Food
– Angaleita Thorne, At Your Service Concierge
Good Enterprises implements the curriculum and award-winning business-simulation model created by the Rising Tide Capital program based in New Jersey which serves more than 600 entrepreneurs per year, with an 87% survival rate beyond the five-year mark.
Applications are now being accepted for two Fall 2020 Community Business Academies which will both begin online in August. Students will gain access to a digital learning platform with weekly virtual class discussions. Scholarships are available and all experience levels are welcome to apply for this program, whether the business exists or is in the early idea-phase. All applicants are required to attend an online information session. To register, complete a program inquiry form online at goodenterprises.org.
To learn more, contact Raquel Padgett at [email protected] or by calling 843-212-6298.
Community program and funding partners include the South Carolina Department of Commerce, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Bank of America, Greystar, Charleston County Economic Development, Rising Tide Capital, Singing for Change Charitable Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, BB&T, CresCom Bank, TD Bank, South Carolina Federal Credit Union, Wells Fargo, Metanoia, YWCA of Greater Charleston and Palmetto Goodwill.