Written by Sekinah Brodie on behalf of Hopeworks.
Hopeworks is famously known as a technology and job training program that offers opportunities to young professionals looking to advance their career, education, and skill set. A nationally recognized nonprofit organization, their goal has always been to combine education and technology in creative ways to impact local communities. With that, they recognize that each young professional who comes through their doors has a different trajectory to travel and an ultimate goal that is unique to them.
While a high paying job in a web design agency, consulting firm, IT company, or another career field may be one person’s mission, someone else may desire a different path. Within the past few years, Hopeworks has taken heed to the demand to incorporate more resources for trainees and interns wanting to start their own businesses.
This is a weekly class where aspiring business owners can come together to discuss the trials of business, share resources, provide updates on their businesses, and gain advice from special guest entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurship class was personally beneficial for me because it gave me the confidence, knowledge, and support to start my digital marketing agency, which is now going on four years in operation. I’ve been able to help well over 300 small to mid-sized businesses grow by providing web development, graphic design, and content creation services.
[I]t is important to have diverse representation in all industries and sectors to show the next generation that it is possible to take an alternative route outside of a traditional job.
While my business started out as a side hustle, the support I received at Hopeworks, along with referrals and marketing, I have been able to grow the agency into something substantial. The Entrepreneurship class also spawned several other successful businesses in the industries of music, food services, clothing brands, digital art and painting, web design, and video game clubs.
Kyla Evans used the class resources to become a published author at the age of twenty-one! She composed a book of poetry, entitled Bleeding Heart, which details her life experiences. Hopeworks alumni Brandon Rodriguez turned his talents of illustration and painting into fashionable pins and detailed artwork. He uses a portion of his sales to give back to organizations in Puerto Rico.
Charlene Newbill, also an alumni, pushed past her fear of failure to create her own creative venture. Young,Saved, and Ashamed is her clothing brand which promotes the love of Christ, specifically for young people. Charlene’s goal is to show people that it is okay to show love for your religion, out loud and you can look incredible while doing it! Gabrielle Lee, who is currently a lead web developer for the Hopeworks web department was one of the first students in the Entrepreneurship class. Her frontend web development skills and unique illustration style allows her work to stand out amongst her clients. She has been able to leverage the resources and connections made at Hopeworks to create a sustainable business model, which she continues to build daily.
Entrepreneurship has seen a spike in popularity since the start of the pandemic, due to so many people being unemployed or underemployed. Despite the pandemic’s effect on the economy, there were over four million new businesses registered in 2020. With that in mind, it is important to have diverse representation in all industries and sectors to show the next generation that it is possible to take an alternative route outside of a traditional job. Hopeworks will continue to contribute to the growing number of entrepreneurs by sharing resources, information, and connections to the next generation of professional leaders.