Celebrate Small Business Week, May 2 – 8 and Shop Local

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many Americans in a variety of ways. Small business owners are no exception.  According to the Small Business Administration, there are 30.2 million small businesses in the United States, which employ 47.5 percent of the private workforce.  “Small business drive job growth in the United States.”

Many small businesses have suffered lockdowns, needed to make quick pivots to create safe working environments for employees, and customers, all while maintaining productivity.  Some have even been forced to close after years of hard work.  The yearlong pandemic has been an unwelcomed reminder to small businesses just how much blood, sweat and tears it takes to make a business thrive. 

Because small businesses are the backbone of our economy, MDRRC felt it was still appropriate to start an Entrepreneurship Club at East Port Terrace. We will soon be launching the Clubs in juvenile detention centers across the state. Children, unfortunately had to experience the same pandemic and witness the havoc it wreaked on the lives of many, with loss of life, jobs and much more. They also witnessed resilience, evolution, and perseverance.  Although we may want to, we cannot completely shield our children from negative life experiences. It is our responsibility to prepare them for life’s ups and downs. 

The purpose of the Entrepreneurship Club is to ensure that youth can explore a variety of positive experiences and career paths, including entrepreneurship. We want them to realize the boundless opportunities that are before them. For those who might be wondering how this work is related to a reentry program, this is how: For far too long America’s minorities and poor have been criminalized by intersecting systems that impact them at all levels, including the school-to-prison pipeline, chronic nuisance orders, public housing shortages, anti-homelessness ordinances, claims of welfare fraud, and inadequate mental health systems.

I was raised by entrepreneur parents and exposed to the values and traits of entrepreneurs at a young age. That experience really shaped my life. It was a powerful influence on my life to see my parents treat hard work as a normal, and adapt to what life gave them, good or bad.  I developed a greater respect for money because my parents made sure that I understood that money did not grow on trees and resources were limited. I also understand that it takes time to build a successful life, it does not happen overnight, which too many of our youth believe because of media influences of fast money. I also got to experience the flexibility that entrepreneurship afforded my parents. They were able to attend my school activities no matter the time of day. We were able to travel, have all our needs met and many of our wants. The exposure to entrepreneurship helped build my tenacity, my ability to problem solve and the ability to get back up when knocked down.

This is the type of experience I want for other children. On Saturday, as part of Small Business Week which began on Sunday and runs through Saturday, May 8, we will host our Inaugural Entrepreneurship Fair.  The event will provide an opportunity for youth to showcase their products and businesses to the public.  We hope that you will shop local and come out to Susan B. Campbell Park located at Annapolis City Dock from 11 am to 2 pm and support our youth.

Sponsored by Severn bank

Published by Vanessa Bright

Vanessa is an experienced speaker, organizer and educator who has spent years teaching leadership and finance to individuals and organizations. From starting her own natural lip and skin care line as a social enterprise to establishing the Maryland Reentry Resource Center for the empowerment of inmates and the formerly incarcerated, her inspiration is always focused on upholding human dignity and setting goals that help individuals and organizations remove the social and financial barriers to success.  

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