On November 30 the HOPE Financial Dignity Center in Washington DC invited four prominent community leaders to join us in judging our Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition. The nearly six hour event served to conclude the center’s Small Business Empowerment Program session.

The judges included: Christina Stockamore and Carlos Arango from the Latino Economic Development Corporation, a leading CDFI in the Washington DC metropolitan area, and Ted Archer and James Marshall from the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development. During the event they assisted participants in the competition by providing feedback and advice about their business plans and we are very thankful for their support.

Below are there own words and reflections from the evening, the first being from Christina Stockamore from the Latino Economic Development Corporation:

Dear Joyce, my sincerest thank you for extending an invitation to join the business plan competition last night. The presentations were truly inspiring. I felt honored to give honest feedback to your students. Again, thank you.

Here’s a comment from Carlos Arango from the Latino Economic Development Corporation:

Hi Joyce, Thanks for inviting us to the business plan competition, it was a beautiful experience. Could you send me some pics of the event if possible?

Ted  Ted Archer, from the Department of Small and Local Business Development, had this to say: 

Hi Joyce, Just wanted to send you a quick note of gratitude for inviting us to Operation Hope for the presentations yesterday evening. James and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The caliber of the presentations speak volumes about the program that you are leading and their level of preparation. I expect to see many of the entrepreneurs operating in 2012! 

James C. Williams from the Department of Small and Local Business Development also chimed in:

Joyce, Thanks again for the opportunity to work w/ your group. I just ordered a dozen cupcakes from Susan and now I am ready to order some juice from Latieka Jones, do you have Latieka’s phone and email address? Thanks Warm Regards

This session of the entrepreneur training program began on September 7 and on December 14th we will graduate 19 new small business owners.

Leading up to week one, we had our larget waiting list ever. I recall meeting with HOPE Center Vice President, Jahi Davis in his office during the twelve week program to talk about the participants.  I felt that the participants in this cohort had such an array of business ideas and a unique diversity of experience and knowledge that they were the best class yet.