United Way’s ‘Start Up for Success’ Returns to Prepare Local Entrepreneurs for Next Step in Business Journey

RICHMOND, Va. (Jan. 13, 2022) – Following a successful pilot program in 2021, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg’s Start Up for Success program is returning to provide aspiring local entrepreneurs with the social capital, training, coaching and start-up funding needed to launch businesses and lead economic development in their communities.

This year, five budding entrepreneurs with aspirations ranging from business consulting and holistic medicine to food services and clothing and apparel will take part in the six-week program, which began on Tuesday, January 11. In 2021, five individuals were guided through the pilot program.

“Small businesses and the individuals behind them are essential to the vitality and success of our economy. And in an environment that’s still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, Start Up for Success aims to help people and communities rebuild,” said James Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “We’ve been pleased to follow the progress of the 2021 class, and we can’t wait to see what this current class of entrepreneurs will accomplish moving forward.”

Start Up for Success empowers participants to bring their ideas to life, and equips them with a solid foundation to start and/or grow their business. This is accomplished through a combination of workshops and one-on-one consulting. The training and mentorship program will run from January 11 to February 15.

The training is done through a combination of workshops and one-on-one consulting to support participants’ journey into the world of business ownership. Presented in collaboration with Honor Loan, the training helps participants develop or obtain important business items, including:

  • Business and entrepreneurship skills that are transferrable to one’s personal and professional life.
  • A sharpened set of business ideas that will generate value for the community
  • A plan to develop a product that appeals to a specific customer base
  • An opportunity to apply for startup funds
  • Access to a community of local entrepreneurs with which to continue the journey

Participants come from a range of backgrounds and have a variety of business ideas. The five 2022 participants were connected to the program via local United Way nonprofit partners HumanKind, Southside Community Development & Housing Corporation, and Pathways-VA. Participants include:

  • Jessica Chatman of Petersburg has a truck dispatching company – 4Infinite Logistixx LLC – and is working to grow the business.
  • Yolanda Davis-Hilliard of Henrico will pursue a pop-up food service business, Chef Yollie’s Kitchen
  • Kevin Greene of Richmond plans to start a home improvement business
  • Dayquon White of North Chesterfield is working toward a clothing, apparel and consulting business called Lowkey Grinders, Inc.
  • Aronda Young of North Chesterfield is pursuing a holistic health and wellness company called Life Lovers Balance, LLC

“The path to starting a business is challenging for any entrepreneur. In communities where many face barriers to employment and starting a new business, people with promising ambition and great business ideas can be left struggling to get that business off the ground. This program aims to change that,” Taylor added.

For those who are interested in volunteering or participating, email Anna Danese (danesea@yourunitedway.org) to be one of the first to know when applications for the 2023 cohort open. To learn more about the program and donate to United Way, visit https://www.yourunitedway.org/start-up.