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Celebrating the Inaugural Class of the 2024 Business Finance Essentials Workshop Series

Eleven Thomasville entrepreneurs after the Business Finance Essentials Workshop Series

Eleven amazing Thomasville entrepreneurs have just completed the very first 2024 Business Finance Essentials Workshop Series. This is a huge step forward for these hardworking minority-led business owners who are now one step closer to securing the capital they need to grow their businesses and create a legacy of success.


The journey began on May 8th with an introduction class, followed by a ribbon-cutting kickoff at the Thomasville Thomas County Chamber of Commerce. From there, these eleven entrepreneurs were selected to attend a four-week cohort.


The ongoing workshop series is a collaborative effort between Spark Thomasville and InvestTVL, Thomasville’s first community development loan fund.


Over the course of four sessions, participants learned about business funding, understanding financial statements, business financial software, and personal application completion. They received personalized assistance from community experts who were there to guide them every step of the way.

Koketta Gantt, owner of New Oak Academy and Willow Early Learning Academy, said she attended the training because she has recently expanded her operations and needs additional operating capital as she builds her client base. InvestTVL’s SPARK Entrepreneurs’ Fund provides low-interest loans for working capital, or furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE).


“People often forget that childcare is a business and that we must know and implement best business practices to thrive. InvestTVL gives business owners an opportunity to expand and be sustainable by providing hands-on training that focuses on the financial health of their businesses,” Gantt said.


Rickela Reynolds, a cohort participant and filmmaker, shared: “The Loan Fund Workshop was an invaluable resource! As a creator, my focus is often on my craft, but I realized that’s only half of my business. The workshop provided a comprehensive view of my finances, highlighting the critical importance of bookkeeping. Understanding where my money is going is essential for maintaining a healthy and stable business. I commend Spark for offering this to us entrepreneurs.”


None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our partners:

- Imagine Thomasville and the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation

- TNB, TC Federal, and The First Banks

- Albany Community Together

- O’Neals Consulting and Training Services


Special recognition goes to Spark Thomasville Board member, Willie Allen; InvestTVL consultant, Katie Chastain, and Spark Thomasville Volunteer Cohort Speaker and Coach, Earl Williams for their dedication and hard work in supporting these entrepreneurs.


As we celebrate the success of this inaugural class, I can’t help but feel excited for Thomasville’s future. These eleven entrepreneurs are now equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to create jobs, build wealth, and make a lasting impact in Thomas county.


To the graduates of the 2024 Business Finance Essentials Workshop Series, I say congratulations! You have worked hard, and you deserve all the success that comes your way. Thomasville needs you to keep dreaming big and never give up on your goals!


And to the Spark giving community, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your support and generosity are helping to create a more inclusive, vibrant, and prosperous Thomasville for all.

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