"Now I am a business owner."
The most recent round of the Business Entrepreneurship Academy saw 45 budding business owners through 10 weeks of class. Our hope is that these entrepreneurs, who are underserved by the community, walk away feeling empowered and confident as they move forward in starting their business.
Upon completion of the Academy, we hold a graduation to celebrate their achievements and applaud them for the work they have done and the work ahead of them. Each group of classes, selects a speaker to represent them and talk about their journey and business. This past graduation, LAUNCH entrepreneur Alexis Noel spoke for her class, and we were floored.
The impact that LAUNCH has is not lost on us, but Alexis’ speech truly encapsulates what we hope our program does. We are honored that we are a part of her journey.
Where I come from, college is seen as the only way to success. I understand the importance of its role in a capitalistic society, but I also understand the importance of vision. The bible says that faith without works is dead. I say that works without vision is vague.
Vision and passion is diminished, undervalued over a good “job.” When I hear the word job, I
think of words that hold a negative connotation. Words such as task, force, assignment, morning shift, 6am. Don’t misunderstand me, I think college is an amazing achievement, but knowledge is what I’ve sought for so long and knowledge is what I received with LAUNCH.
With that knowledge came the acceptance of my vision and my passion. They taught me how to combine my love with livelihood. I can honestly say that as a Dean’s List student, 3 years of college did not do what 10 weeks of LAUNCH have done for me. I thought that I was a business owner. I thought I had detailed plans. Until I was asked well what’s my cost of goods sold? What was my break-even point? Did I know what my target customer’s day consists of? What is my solution to my target customer’s problems, and how was I going to distribute that “solution?”
These were questions that as a business major in college, I had never been asked. I’ve grown personally and I’ve seen growth manifest in my classmates who put forth the effort. I learned that growth doesn’t transpire without reflection. We learned to speak aloud and alone in front of a crowd. We read our incomplete thoughts and welcomed critic. We had Mrs. Susan and Mr. Marco who smiled at our pure hearts, but reminded us of the needs of our pockets. We went through our business model step by step. From the problem to the solution to the cost, the message, the revenue, we mapped out our dreams, and were given realistic ways to conquer those dreams.
LAUNCH has taken me from a wannabe boss to an entrepreneurial leader. I went from selling things that I couldn’t afford and starting numerous projects at a time to focusing my foundation and defining my plans. I started with a menu and a dream and I stand here today as my business begins our online grand opening.
LAUNCH has given me the confidence to jump. That confidence has brought so many blessings. Just this weekend, I have been blessed with a free business space, my logo has been paid to be printed on stickers, someone has offered to professionally market me for 30 days free of charge and my website and business cards are being paid for as well. We have also been given a space to build our inner-city youth center which is the second part to my business. From my business, will come donations and those donations will change lives.
My work has brought confidence, and that has brought opportunity. Uncertainty was and is my biggest fear. I’m very blessed to be able to say that has LAUNCH provided me with the tools to build my path and brought definition to my goals. LAUNCH gave me the direction that I was desperately in need of and for that I say thank you. Now I am a business owner.
Through her business Bakes N Plates, Alexis aims to enact change within the community by serving the youth, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. Bakes N Plates will provide youth with a safe space to practice culture, a greater economic literacy, the knowledge and an opportunity to provide fresh food and meals for themselves, as well as a sense of hope through community programs, classes and events.
To aid Alexis in her mission, you can order a variety of baked goods. Proceeds from these delicious eats will be put towards starting the Bakes N Plates community outreach and programming.
A bakery / eatery on a mission!