Free Entrepreneurship Training

If you haven’t noticed, there has been a lot of talk about Entrepreneurship in the news. Why, you ask? Simple answer, unemployment rates are still high so the demand is great for those who can create jobs.  Sadly, the many people who have great ideas, services, and/or products aren’t sure how or when to get started. Well, a few weeks ago while attending a social networking event; I came across an organization that provided Free Entrepreneurial Development Training! Now before I go any further, this program is a local Southern Jersey/Philadelphia resource geared towards serving people of this region. However, don’t be dismayed, perhaps it’s destiny that you read about this particular program, maybe it’s time you became the person who steps up to the plate to create a similar agency in your area. Either way, let’s have a look inside what this program has to offer.

The nonprofit organization that provides free entrepreneurship training is called LAEDA– Latin American Economic Development Association, Inc. LAEDA has been around for about 23 years. (By the way, no you do not have to be Latin American to participate in their programs.) LAEDA was established to create small business ownership opportunities for all minorities and progressively develop the commercial marketplace in the City of Camden and beyond. The training program is a small piece of the bigger picture that offers budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to fine tune their ideas to best serve Camden, NJ. While taking their intensive training course, program participants will learn many things including: Marketing, Accounting, Technology training, and how to create a Business Plan, just to name a few. As a bonus, all graduates receive ongoing support including free seminars that are scheduled throughout the year.

I couldn’t believe they offered this program for free! There just had to be a catch. My curiosity led me to a phone conversation with the friendly and knowledgeable coordinator I met at the event, as well as the program coordinator who was extremely engaging and helpful.  I asked some questions and they had no problem supplying the answers. So here are a few facts you may not notice on their website:

  1. The program is not just for Camden Residents however, they ask that your business help serve the city of Camden in some capacity.
  2. You have to be accepted into the program, which there is a process that leads you to a face to face interview with the program coordinator and the CEO to see if you fit the criteria for program approval. If you don’t, they explain what you need to work on so that you can apply again more prepared.
  3. The general criteria isn’t as scary as you think it is, they just require that you have a business idea that is viable, feasible, and that you’re willing to do what you must to turn your dream into reality.
  4. When you are put on a very brief phone hold you are delightfully entertained with a compilation of fun Latino music that makes you want to dance in your seat.

In all seriousness, the program looks extremely helpful and the staff gave me the impression that they really care about their program graduates.  They even work with you if you develop stage fright about your business idea and decide to come back to them years later. Just read the testimonies.

So what are you waiting for? Dream Big, Soar High! If you know any more resources for Entrepreneurship training in New Jersey and beyond don’t be stingy, share the resources you never know if the next Bill Gates may come out of one these programs.

Starting Over

 

Reclaim, Rebuild, Renew, was the theme I chose for myself earlier this year. I chose this theme and wrote out a goal list which I am determined to accomplish. I’ve learned, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.” One of the goals on this list was to start this blog and post at least once a week for a year. As I’ve stated in my about section, I decided to blog as a way to find my voice. I also wanted to share any positive experiences I encountered on my journey as I start over again after a divorce. Although my voice is of a young woman, I have already experienced major losses in life that many don’t encounter so early on or at all. Loss is not uncommon for a child from the city of Camden, NJ.  I was raised by a single mother, abandoned by an alcoholic father, managed to be the first in my immediate family to participate in a high school graduation ceremony, and graduate college by the grace of God. In my early twenties I had a promising career path. I owned a house in the “burbs,” I was married and life seemed perfect.

Divorce changes everything.  It doesn’t matter what age you experience divorce or who initiated the divorce, it can really devastate everything you ever believed about yourself and the world around you.  I felt like I was a failure. I had tried so hard to become everything I thought would make a respectable citizen and break the vicious cycle of never amounting to anything children born in poverty often embrace. I never realized the very ambition that helped me accomplish really awesome things would be the same ambition that would lead me to feeling completely empty inside. Although I wished I could have realized I wasn’t living authentically before I was married, losing what’s comfortable forces you to wake up and pay attention to life. I would be telling stories if I didn’t say that living life out loud is both scary and exciting at the same time.

When I first started trying to find my own path I often worried that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or talented enough. I worried that pursuing my passions would be a waste of time. I even felt intimidated by my sisters conquering their quarter life crisis who seemed so much bolder than me. I am now better at silencing negative Nellie, embracing my own special gifts, and believing that persistency prevails. Even if we fall down, we don’t have to stay there. Looking at failure as an opportunity to grow is truly a liberating experience. As a bonus, I’ve learned that some of our greatest industry leaders have come to the point of homelessness yet became the millionaires they are today. So even though starting over can get overwhelming at times it’s not too late to dust yourself off and try again.

Black History Now: Meet Wan-Miz

As promised in my post Black History Now , I would like to introduce music artist Wan-Miz!

Tell me a little about yourself and what you do?

What’s up? My name is Wan-Miz, I am an underground hip hop artist from the city of Camden, New Jersey where I was born and raised. I am part of a group called the Nu Treez. I’m a man on a mission to get my music out and heard.

 You can check out my music here:

 www.youtube.com/wanmiz

 www.highsoulciety.com

 Catch me online:

http://twitter.com/wanmiz

http://www.facebook.com/wanmiz

http://www.myspace.com/nutreezwanmiz

What do you love most about being a hip hop artist?

Everything about music is love to me. I enjoy music with a meaning and concept behind it; no matter the genre, if it’s good I will listen to it. I also love being creative. I try to step outside the box and do the unthinkable. 

 How did you get started? 

(Ha Ha Ha) Well I could take all day telling this story but I’m gonna try to condense it as much as possible. I’ve always loved music ever since I was young, mainly the melodies and beats. When I was about 12 years old I had a cousin (R.I.P Rome) who loved everything that was music; rhymes, beats, dancing etc. One day he introduced me to Bone Thugs N Harmony’s ” East 1999 Eternal”  and I was like whoa! I had never heard music put together so well; the melodies, fast flows and rhymes, I memorized the whole album and grew fans from my “Bone [thugs] flow”. As time went on, I eventually found myself sitting on an abandoned step with a group of friends who started freestyling. Since I felt confident enough with my poetry and story writing, I took a chance and let my words flow into rap lines. After that, I jumped in any freestyle battle I came across and got better and better each time. Since I couldn’t afford studio time, I bought an old radio with a built in microphone and started recording my freestyle vocals with my cousin in the background screaming WAN MIZ PRODUCTIONS (Ha Ha Ha) As I grew popular I used to hate of other contenders and people who rejected my style as fuel to fight harder for my dream.

 What were the first steps you took towards making your dream into reality?

I started writing more, trying to create my own unique sound and style. I knew I needed to constantly work on my skills, so I devoted many long days and nights trying to perfect this art I love.

How do you handle obstacles and roadblocks? 

The one rule I have set for myself is FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION period. I’ve always been a very competitive person and always believed I could do the impossible if I put my mind to it. I take obstacles and roadblocks and learn from them to make me stronger. It’s the best thing to do.

Who had/has the most impact on your life?

My mom and dad have the most impact on my life. I love them dearly.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from LIFE; my ups and downs, my smiles and frowns, my trials and tribulations. You become a stronger person each time you go through something in life. I’m inspired by what people tell or told me I couldn’t be or do. I remember when I was just a child; there were teachers and even family members that used to say I wouldn’t be anything in life but a bum begging in front of Mc Donald’s [A common occurrence in downtown Camden]. Why, because I was a typical kid [from the ghetto] who just wanted to have fun. People expected me to act older when I was trying to enjoy MY LIFE. Being told I would amount to nothing when I know better IS MY MOTIVATION FOR INSPIRATION.  I WILL MAKE SOMETHING OF MY LIFE and I live by that.

How do you define and or measure success?

When you are at the point of interest where YOU want to be or are at least headed in the right direction. 

What is the one action you have taken that has accounted for most of your success?

Being very observant and learning from all situations. I also network with people who share my similar interest, that way we all learn from each other.

Camden, NJ Layoffs

Unemployment is hitting home and hurting the livelihood of many families.  In some areas the loss of certain jobs are affecting not only the pockets of the unemployed, but the safety of the residents involved. On Tuesday, January 18th, the City of Camden, NJ laid off approximately 335 workers. Nearly half of its police force lost their jobs, as well as fire fighters and local government administrative workers.  

Is this really a big deal? Well let’s look at a few facts about Camden, NJ: Camden has been known to rank in the top 3 of the most dangerous cities in the US; Most of its residents are living below the national poverty line; As for local government, how about 3 recent mayors have been jailed for corruption.  So in short, yes- losing half of the police force is a very big deal. Now despite these crime stats, everyone from Camden is not a gang member or a drug dealer. We cannot forget the innocent children, senior citizens, and mentally ill. There are also many people living in this city who are earnestly involved in trying to bring Camden back to the thriving business center it once was before its downfall. These people chose to come to this city to build businesses, hospitals, and schools, offering residents help and employment. Taking away these service-related jobs is just another slap in the face to the efforts of community advancement.

Instead of community re-development people are mourning the death of their beloved city. I have even come across a Facebook page with over 4000 “friends” calling for Camden to Rest in Peace. This is truly a sad event to have taken place. I’m praying for the underserved and underprivileged, as well as the men and women who honestly put their lives on the line to protect and serve this community.

Sources and Links:

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local-beat/Camden-Layoffs-Begin.html

http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011101180357

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