Thomasville’s Rotary Club President John Brown has chosen to direct this year’s $1,500 in District Grant funds to do good locally. John has tapped Spark Thomasville to receive these funds to assist budding minority entrepreneurs to launch their businesses from a solid foundation.
On the Rotary calendar October is Economic and Community Development Month. What could be more appropriate than to highlight yet another way our club works to add value to our community?
Spark Thomasville is the brainchild of several local successful business leaders and copies tried and true programs in other communities such as LAUNCH in Chattanooga. Spark Thomasville “addresses challenges specific to low-wealth individuals who are launching businesses and who live in economically disadvantaged communities.” Harry T. Jones explained to the first graduating class of 19 in 2019 that the Spark Thomasville tag line became “A business innovator for the underestimated.”
Statistics show that most new businesses fail within their first few years. Under 50% make it to the fifth year and only 40% turn a profit. It makes perfect sense to offer a program like Spark Thomasville which provides our local minority entrepreneurs a range of resources and support to lift off their business ideas. Spark Thomasville offers a twelve-week cohort-based program to approved candidates that equips them “with insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn ideas into action and a passion into a sustainable and thriving endeavor.” In the current environment of covid-19 Spark Thomasville’s CEO of Community Outreach and Training Center, Sharon Edwards, like everyone else, has had to be creative in offering the program to the 2020 cohort of 7.
President John learned about Spark Thomasville from his friend and fellow church elder, Harry T, Jones. “It was Harry’s passion for the program that inspired me to involve the Rotary Club of Thomasville in the project,” commented President John. Also highly involved in Spark Thomasville are past presidents Andre’ Marria and Teri White.