Featured Success Stories

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Nikiya Newton, founder of Smarty Arts Child Care LLC, transformed her entrepreneurial drive into community growth. Young city children, who often come from low income households and may have limited resources for exploring their artistic talents, can find their creative outlet for dance, drama, vocal, and even sewing and fashion design classes at Smarty Arts. Nikiya always knew that she wanted to be her own boss, and after she discovered that she didn’t want to pursue a career in cosmology, running a childcare business became her focus. She came to Entrepreneur Works in 2012 for a loan to help open Smarty Arts. Starting her daycare quickly became Nikiya’s greatest challenge, as security issues and property damage compromised the existence of Smarty Arts, just days before its opening. Nikiya explains, “I was in a bad situation, I had to start from scratch.” Along with her loan from Entrepreneur Works that helped pay for a new alarm system, Nikiya’s own resilience stood as a strong source for her business recovery. Today, Nikiya has found more stable ground in managing her business, as it allows her to “have full control of all aspects” of her center and that she may teach her artistic talents to children every day, so that they may “find and master their crafts.” Perhaps what is equally rewarding for Nikiya is that her daycare “provides light to a dark situation,” as many Smarty Arts kids have parents who cannot otherwise pay for their children to pursue creative interests such as dance and drama, as these are commonly believed to be “luxury” activities, Nikiya says. Not only this, but on a grander scale, Smarty Arts provides for the whole community with its nutritious snacks and meals, designed to “help instill healthy eating habits,” as well as Nikiya’s long-term goal to develop a co-ed Smarty Arts basketball league that would combat child obesity and “keep kids off the streets.” Regardless of her business’s tough setbacks, Nikiya’s entrepreneurial drive has soldiered her on to create a worthy, life-changing daycare and for her, a more self-led life, which she “wouldn’t change for the world.”

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Della Beaver can sum up her business in two words: “Empowering women.” As the owner of image consulting company A Tru Diva, Beaver’s mission is to empower women to “find their true diva, inside and out.” From wardrobe consulting and shopping to public and motivational speaking, Beaver teaches businesswomen to dress the part, recognize what they are trying to express, and fully tap into who they are. “You have seven seconds to make a first impression,” says Beaver, whose mission is embodied in her book, A Tru Diva: Living Your Life with Passion and Purpose. Prior to starting her business, Beaver spent twenty years working as a paralegal. In mid-2010, she reached a turning point in her life and decided to really pursue her passion full-time. Entrepreneur Works’ business planning classes enabled her to develop a business plan and solidify her ideas on paper: “Going to the class really helped me to crystallize exactly what I wanted to do.” And those ideas seem to keep flowing. Beaver is thinking about expanding her business to include a publishing division, which she has planned for next year. Also in the pipeline is a t-shirt line—Beaver already has some designs in hand. “You’ve got to have multiple streams of income,” says Beaver. Other important tips she offers new entrepreneurs are to surround themselves with likeminded people, take advantage of all the opportunities that are available, be prepared for a lot of hard work, and keep in mind that the rewards are so great. “I’m making my own dreams come true,” says Beaver. “That for me was the catalyst to being an entrepreneur.”   [gallery size="full" ids="393,392"]

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Joel Austin is both a dedicated father and a successful entrepreneur, but he didn’t always have the skills he needed to tackle the challenges of parenthood.   When he first began his journey into fatherhood, Austin lacked a support group; new mom classes were prevalent and easily available, but for a new dad there seemed to be no available guidance.  As he worked through the trials and difficulties of raising kids, Austin began to recognize the need for organized male parenting education. Joel came to Entrepreneur Works for business guidance and support in 2002, and in 2004 he opened Daddy University Inc.  As the President/C.E.O of Daddy University Inc. he uses the hard-won tips, tricks, and skills that he picked up as a father of four in order to guide and inspire other dads in need of a helping hand.  Daddy University operates with the understanding that though fatherhood is challenging and demanding, it is ultimately essential.   Fatherhood impacts and changes young lives – and in much the same way, Daddy University impacts and inspires fathers. Joel, a proud graduate of Cheyney University, credits his family with helping him understand hard work and community involvement at a young age. These values, along with his passion for parenting, have helped Joel develop Daddy University Inc. into a go-to resource for both nervous fathers-to-be and seasoned pros alike.  The company’s website offers helpful tips, links and anecdotes for dads looking for information on a variety of subjects, including finance, housework, and discipline, and provides comprehensive support for parents on the go. Daddy University also offers more personalized support to local fathers through fatherhood classes, youth training and teen parenting programs. While most programming serves as a great resource for fathers, many events – such as annual daddy-daughter dances – give kids an opportunity to get involved as well.  In addition to its comprehensive resources, Daddy University also offers a line of products specifically designed with a male parent in mind.  The Daddy Bag, a line of diaper bags made to accommodate the needs of dads, is the star of the product line, and is sold online alongside a wide selection of branded apparel and accessories. With its combination of helpful hints, comprehensive classes, and dad-specific merchandise, Daddy University, Inc. provides resources to any dad in need. "The staff at Entrepreneur Works has always been there for me, through the good and the bad.  They believe in me when others don't, support me when I feel like turning around, and cheer every time I cross the finish line." - Joel Austin, CEO of Daddy University Inc.

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Lacey C. Clark!, international and award-winning empowerment coach and inspirational speaker, has plenty to be proud of. Educator and CEO of Sisters’ Sanctuary LLC, Lacey wrote Phenomenally U: A Young Woman’s Guide to Being Smart, Safe and Successful in College, part of Lacey’s Phenomenally U brand, which renowned author Maya Angelou lauded as “very good.” Lacey was also the subject of a forthcoming investigative documentary that followed her search of the media’s effects on young women, including how it damages their sense of self-worth. Lacey earned a bachelor’s in film at NYU and realized the disturbingly powerful impact of media culture, which inspired her to start a brand that would empower young women in a “sanctuary of self-love.” Lacey was part of the original Prudential Young Entrepreneur Program at Entrepreneur Works, where she worked one-on-one with Director of Entrepreneur Services Earl Boyd to organize her education business. Lacey wrote Celebrate Her Now! prior to the Phenomenally U series, which can be delivered at a keynote, breakout session, workshop, training, or webinar. She also released an online course in fall 2015. Amidst her brand’s rising popularity among appreciative youths and parents, Lacey says that she most enjoys “helping customers realize ‘who am I’,” and watching young women transform into self-respecting, driven adults.