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SEQ Prospective Entrepreneurs Graduate

Posted on July 15, 2016 by queenspress718 in news, Top News with 0 Comments


Some of South Jamaica’s biggest prospective business owners celebrated their graduation ceremony from the Prime Skills Entrepreneurship Program, a free step-by-step program to help NYCHA residents of South Jamaica Houses and Baisley Park Houses and nearby residents build for their aspiring businesses in their community on Tuesday, July 12.

The Prime Skills entrepreneurship program graduates.

Over ten participants shared their business elevator pitches in The Thomas White Jr. Foundation building.

For six weeks, students spent three hours a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the classroom with guest speakers learning the process to build a business. The featured classes discussed finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, advertising and technology.

Councilman Ruben Wills, the Department of Small Business Services and the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) teamed up to pull off the program through contracting opportunities of Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“We get a little tired of people in our communities constantly promised jobs go to this training program go to that training program and then they don’t get a job,” said Wills. “We found some loopholes that contractors in NYCHA were exploiting, so we said that since their mandate is to provide jobs to people in NYCHA complex and the surrounding communities, we would have a program that not only gives people jobs but creates entrepreneurs so that they can actually have businesses and create their own jobs.”

Mr. Yusef Abdul-Wali is a retired professor at La Guardia College but when QEDC asked him to facilitate and teach the Prime Skills Entrepreneurship Program, he didn’t shy away from the opportunity.

“I was flattered, because that’s my dream, that’s my passion to see help my people become more economically sound. We need businesses,” said Abdul-Wali.

“The most difficult thing was recruiting people who had stopped believing and had existed in an atmosphere of hopelessness and despair for so long that they stopped believing.”

He added, “We’re talking about people who for the most part just dont have the education, but have the desire and the will, and have this business concept that is burning and this burning passion.”

Minerva Hodgers, a Baisley Park Houses resident and graduate of the program slept on the idea of opening a case management in South Jamaica Queens for years.

“I worked professionally as a case manager and supervisor, and I always wanted to do it, I just never had the push or courage to really get out there and do it. Coming to the class enlightened me that it is possible and that you have to take small steps. All of the presenters that came in showed us that it’s hope and you can do it.”

Hodgers said the most challenging part was writing the business plan, “You’re opened up to all of the things that are going to come at you. The market that I want to get into is a social service industry, it’s huge already,” she said. “However you have to find your niche, and what’s going to make us stand out is our passion to do it.

We already have case managers, however we see the need right here in where I live.”

“It’s going to make us push even harder to make sure these businesses are not only valuable but successful.”