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VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Willie Allen Empowers Entrepreneurs with a “Just Try It” Spirit

Spark entrepreneur Tequesta Diggs with her completion certificate from board member Willie Allen
Spark entrepreneur Tequesta Diggs & Willie Allen

As a youth, Willie Allen watched his mother and stepfather pour their hearts into building a successful brick masonry business. He saw firsthand the power of entrepreneurship to transform lives and uplift communities. Today, as the Southern Regional Technical College Director of Innovation, Willie channels that early inspiration into his volunteer work with Spark Thomasville's incubator for underestimated entrepreneurs.

“Just give it a try. You don’t know what idea may work,” Willie tells the aspiring teen business owners in Spark’s Teen Entrepreneurship program. It’s a message that resonates deeply with entrepreneurs who may lack access to capital, connections, education, or support—especially minorities, who face steeper obstacles. Willie understands these challenges intimately and knows how game-changing Spark’s 12-week training program can be.


Willie’s commitment to Spark is truly multifaceted. When he showed up at Spark he jumped in with both feet as a board member, rolled up his sleeves, and got to work contributing as Spark board secretary, generously giving financially as a donor, and helping facilitate our last Spark Tank competition. As Director of Innovation at SRTC, he helps our K-12 students across the city and county, as well as our teen entrepreneur program participants, make a real impact in our communities with their businesses.


The proof is in the thriving ventures launched by Spark graduates, which Willie loves to frequent and promote. “Seeing their dreams become reality is incredible,” he shares. “Spark gives them the tools and confidence to succeed.” Indeed, by combining practical business education with expert coaching and seed funding, Spark has cultivated an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is strengthening the whole community.


Willie is a master at bringing the right people together for the betterment of innovation and entrepreneurship programs in our schools and community. He motivates, inspires, and brings so much energy to our entrepreneurs. Plus, he’s a pleasure to work with!


For Willie, empowering others to take the leap into entrepreneurship is deeply fulfilling. “This work is a gift,” he reflects, “one I want to keep paying forward.” And as Spark continues to grow, with alumni opening new ventures and creating jobs, the impact of Willie’s volunteer efforts ripples out in ever-widening circles.


You may be thinking, "I would like to be involved with underestimated entrepreneurs." YOU CAN! You can be part of this transformative movement. Whether it’s volunteering your skills, donating to support programming, or simply spreading the word, everyone has a role to play in uplifting the tireless entrepreneurs who make our community vibrant. Take a page from Willie’s book and just give it a try—because you never know where one small act might lead.


To learn more about Spark Thomasville and get involved, email me or visit




DeShay Williams

Executive Director

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