How One Innovative Nonprofit Supports Entrepreneurs and Economic Mobility

StartingUpGood
StartingUpGood Magazine
4 min readOct 6, 2021

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By: Brady Press

StartingUpGood works with early-stage, high social impact startups and their leaders. We recently partnered with social impact consulting firm Changing Our World to provide seed grants and fundraising, strategy and communications consulting services to five women social entrepreneurs in Atlanta.

This article covers a conversation with one of those social entrepreneurs — the leader of Greater Wealth Works — EDGE*, Rachel Davis. Below, Rachel and EDGE alum — founder and owner of The Chocolate Box, Daisy Latimore — discuss how Greater Wealth Works — EDGE supports entrepreneurs and economic mobility in Atlanta.

*To reflect its expansion of services geared toward long-term economic mobility for all, Greater Wealth Works — EDGE plans to formally roll out a new name and branding in January of 2022.

Webinar Recording

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmrTENDR754

This post covers the seventh session from Changing Our World’s Atlanta Forging Forward Conference Series focused on idea sharing, innovative solutions and a path forward within the Atlanta community.

Speakers

Rachel Davis, CEO and Executive Director of Greater Wealth Works — EDGE

  • Rachel Davis has a Bachelor of Economics degree from Spelman College, and an MBA with a concentration in finance from Clark Atlanta University. She worked in the financial services industry with Prudential and has also held positions with the Dow Jones-Spelman College Entrepreneurial Center and BusinessNOW — the Business Neighborhood Organization for Women — an initiative at Goodwill Industries.
  • Rachel made her most significant and purpose-driven move in 2001 when she accepted the role of Vice President of Operations & Administration at Greater Wealth Works — EDGE and was named Director of its SBA Women’s Business Center program in 2011.
  • Now as CEO and Executive Director of Greater Wealth Works — EDGE, Rachel is the anchor, advocate and keeper of the organization’s legacy. With more than twenty years of experience in microbusiness development, she’s leading the organization into the future with a new vision — empowering and developing entrepreneurs for greater success.

Daisy Latimore, founder and owner of The Chocolate Box and EDGE Alum

  • Daisy Latimore is the founder of her family-owned business, The Chocolate Box, which has been in business since 2003. In 2016, Daisy connected with Rachel and Greater Wealth Works — EDGE through its program for small businesses created in conjunction with Etsy.
  • Daisy’s handcrafted, gourmet chocolates have won several awards including the Taste of Conyers Best Desserts, Rockdale Citizen People’s Choice Best Desserts and Goodwill of North Georgia’s Triumph Award.
  • Beyond selling chocolates, Daisy has participated in several career days at local schools and has orchestrated candy-making classes for children with special needs. She also runs a “first job” program through her business, where she teaches teen employees responsibility and financial management, including how to set up a bank account.

Key Takeaways

  • Recently, the Harvard Business Review released a study stating that 17% of Black women are in the process of starting or running new businesses, compared to just 10% of white women and 15% of white men. Despite this early lead, only 3% of Black women are running mature businesses. There are many potential causes for this gap between startup and mature businesses, including a lack of access to assets — the funding necessary to start and maintain a business — among Black women.
  • Greater Wealth Works— EDGE, which was founded in 1998 through a partnership between United Way of Cobb, Cobb Family Resources, Cobb County YWCA and Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business, is working to close this gap between startup and mature businesses for entrepreneurs across Georgia. Through its mission to help Georgians achieve economic self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship, the organization has guided over 4,000 individuals through the entrepreneurial process.
  • According to Rachel, many entrepreneurs don’t know how to execute on all the necessary elements of business operations — from marketing to accounting and bookkeeping. Greater Wealth Works — EDGE is a resource to provide guidance and support to help entrepreneurs stabilize, grow and expand their businesses.
  • Part of its programming is helping people determine whether entrepreneurship is the right path for them, and that their business endeavors will lead to a financially solid and sustainable business. Aside from entrepreneurship, Greater Wealth Works — EDGE offers financial literacy education and/or trade skills training to clients.
  • Greater Wealth Works — Edge is currently expanding its programming around economic literacy to meet the needs of clients who have debt issues that are preventing them from advancing their businesses. This approach focuses on long-term wealth creation — building your business into an asset that will support you now and through retirement, and one that you can pass on to future generations.
  • Daisy’s small business, The Chocolate Box, was part of Greater Wealth Works — EDGE’s programming. Through the programming, Daisy networked with other small business owners and secured a small grant that allowed her to stay open during the pandemic.
  • Daisy reiterates the value that Greater Wealth Works — EDGE brings in helping entrepreneurs with long-term wealth creation. Take retirement, for example. Before joining Greater Wealth Works — EDGE, Daisy had not thought about an exit plan: “I just thought I would work forever.” The organization helped her get financially ready to retire or sell her business.

Want to know more?

Listen to the full session recording, linked above, and visit our Medium page for more Forging Forward Atlanta coverage. Be on the lookout for the next Forging Forward Atlanta discussion.

Brady Press is a Director at Changing Our World, where she specializes in building strategic corporate citizenship programs. She is a consultant to SDGCounting and StartingUpGood.

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StartingUpGood
StartingUpGood Magazine

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