Oftentimes, those with a vision of entrepreneurship become discouraged; they are convinced that it’s too risky, and something they shouldn’t attempt.
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, said, “Most of us want to tell our coworkers, friends and husbands or wives, about our ideas. For what reason? We want validation. But, I feel ideas are most vulnerable in their infancy. Out of love and concern, friends and family give reasons or objections on why [you] shouldn’t do it. I didn’t want to risk that.”
What if Blakely risked listening to the naysayers? If she had, her company, which, according to Forbes, is valued at $540 million, might not exist.
If you have an idea for a business, and the motivation to pursue entrepreneurship, The EDGE nonprofit is the place to get the encouragement and help you need to make your dream a reality. Not only do EDGE staff members provide training on how to start a business, they also teach entrepreneurs how to build a strong financial foundation.
“We exist to help steer people down the right path,” said CEO and EDGE Executive Director Rachel Davis.
Located in Kennesaw, The EDGE Connection, Inc. has empowered and developed Georgia’s entrepreneurs for greater success for more than 20 years. The organization accomplishes its mission by providing business education, training, mentorship and coaching for business owners. Nonprofit staff members also go above and beyond educating by creating a rich community of small business owners and founders, along with an extensive network of supporters and corporate partners who provide support.
Anna and Justin Holladay, of Sweet Grass Weddings, were able to build their business with the help of EDGE.
“We came across The EDGE while searching for a business incubator in our area that could help us from the ground up,” Anna said. “We had the drive and will to start our own business, but we had zero knowledge of how to do so. The EDGE offered us the foundation of what we needed to get started. By the end of the classes, from initial planning to planning for our future, we had a full business plan.”
Tanya Bryant of Just Lovely Lipstick found EDGE through a women veterans program.
“Boots to Business was the first program I signed up with through The EDGE,” Bryant said. “This course gave me the ability to focus on what was working well in my business, and readjust to the things that were not working. I received a lot of specialized attention from the instructor and EDGE staff. I later received a scholarship for Plan for Profit. During this course, I was able to dive deeper into my business plan, which gave me a clear direction for the future of my business.”
The EDGE was originally formed in 1998 as the Cobb Microenterprise Council, and was hosted by Kennesaw State University Coles College of Business, on its main campus, for many years. Nonprofit status was granted in 2001, and it later rebranded as The Edge Connection, Inc. and expanded to 19 Georgia counties.
“Today, more than 4,000 people have completed our entrepreneurial programs, and many more have attempted. We desire to expand pathways to economic mobility for those we serve, with the ultimate goal being generational wealth,” Davis said.
With most classes and workshops reverting to an online format, EDGE’s reach has expanded even more. To learn more about available training, or get involved, visit theedgegeorgia.org, call 770-694-6593 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Susan Schulz is a Bible teacher and mentor who lives and plays on the Etowah River in Canton. Connect with her on social media or at susanbrowningschulz.com.