By Shekinah Harper, Editorial Intern
Instead of telling students to go out into the world and work for a major corporation, perhaps educators should encourage students to start their own businesses. The United States maintains its standing as the largest economy in the world to the tune of $17.8 trillion, and less than half of that amount derives from major corporations. So what makes this economy thrive you ask? Small businesses.
At the first Champions for Change breakfast hosted by The Edge Connection, CEO Terri ElHaddaoui discussed the relevance of the organization as it alleviates poverty by developing micro-businesses. Instead of providing those in poverty with a way out, the organization offers those searching for assistance with a long-term solution.
Among the speakers were Anna Cablik, CEO of ANATEK,INC. and ANASTEEL and Supply Company, LLC; Brian M. Wooten, executive director of Kennesaw State University Community Engagement; Ken Huff, supplier diversity manager at Southern Company; and Cassius Butts, regional administrator for the Small Business Administration.
As the owner of the only Hispanic, female-owned reinforcing steel fabricator in the southeast, Cablik knows something about success. She shared her secret with the audience through 12 points:
- Be passionate
- Economic resources(network)
- Desire to succeed
- Set clear goals
- Knowledge to succeed( stick to what you know)
- Hard work
- Health and stamina
- Support system
- Resistance to negative input
- Faith/ optimistic attitude
- Persistence is always key.
Keynote speaker James M. Bailey began his presentation by asking every member of the audience to stand. After, he snapped a picture. “Now I can tell all my friends I received a standing ovation!” Bailey said.
He eased the crowd into his story about the rise of his career from 12 to 27 and the fall that followed.
“I went from being a millionaire in my 20’s to sleeping on my friends couch by the time I was 27. All because I didn’t have someone to mentor me,” he said.
Now the CEO of Atlanta Market of Operation Hope, Bailey recognizes the importance of an organization that supports small businesses. He encouraged those in attendance to support The Edge Connection not only because they aim to alleviate poverty but they build up future leaders.
For more information on the services offered by The Edge Connection visit their website.