Initiative shines light on shuttering salons and beauty shops.
Walking around Downtown Newark six months after the city shut down due to Covid-19 quarantine orders, is like entering a ghost town for Duane Reed. For seven years he owned a barbershop on Central Avenue until he sold it in 2018 due to declining business.
“It’s as if the soul left the city. Barbershops and salons are like the historians of the area. They archive the people,” he said as he walked across Halsey Street, a busy thoroughfare housing local ventures and Prudential Insurance and several buildings owned by Rutgers University. With the pandemic shuttering eateries and boutique stores, today it is a shadow of itself.
“It seems as if only franchise stores will come back, when they come back,” lamented Reed.
Jeff Billingsley, the Co-founder, Newark Business Hub Education knows Reed’s concerns, but plans to thwart the decline. His organization, which is also the vision-child of Kimberlee Williams, joined an initiative with Mielle Organics to infuse resources into North American, Caribbean and African communities. The campaign called #MoreThanAStrand assists to get Black women-owned beauty and barber shops back up and running.
“The goal of the #MoreThanAStrand campaign is to not only bridge the gap between women and young girls across the tri-continents of North America, the Caribbean and Africa through their hair, but to empower those women to cultivate economic prosperity within their communities,” says Monique Rodriguez CEO of Mielle Organics, a Chicago-based all-natural skin and hair brand.
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“Entrepreneurs, and those aspiring to become entrepreneurs, want to know what works to accelerate their business growth. We will demystify what it takes to succeed,” says Williams.
The Newark Business Hub Online Certificate Program will run through Rutgers University Office of Continuing Education in the form of a new online global entrepreneurship certificate program. Mielle Organics will commit to providing 60 full MIELLE MAVEN scholarships covering costs related to the program for women who apply. “The training will provide practical strategies to remove the challenges that entrepreneurs face throughout different stages of their growth,” explains Williams.
Courses offered in the training are the following: Setting Up a Business, Generating Revenue, Marketing and Financial Management, among many other courses to complete the curriculum. Included in the initiative, entrepreneurs who want to open their own businesses will receive some assistance by helping them cover start-up costs, certifications, tools and other needs.
“During these times of uncertainty regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the demands for racial equity for people of color, we see the MEILLE MAVEN scholarships as a prime opportunity for women entrepreneurs to invest in themselves through continuing education,” says Billingsley.
To apply for a scholarship, go to Morethanastrand.com. Class recipients will be announced February 2021.
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