Small businesses are the creators of 80% of jobs in America, according for the Small Business Administration. Unfortunately, these same jobs are often lost five years after their establishment date. Tara Lynn Gray created a blueprint for business owners to change this pattern. Sustainability is an important characteristic for micro enterprises. When they are sustainable, they build revenue and create jobs, which is valuable to underserved communities of color. The Black Initiative for Self Sustainability (BLISS) aims to keep those 80% out of the unemployment office.
During the first quarter of 2012, the first class of entrepreneurs became equipped with the tools to thrive at the headquarters of African American Chamber of Commerce of San Joaquin (AACFSJ). Students of the 14-week program learned about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship including market analysis, pricing and profit, and feasibility among others. The sessions were made possible by the hard work and dedication of Tara Lynn Gray, BLISS Program Director-Facilitator, and Paulette Amous-Gross, President and CEO of AACFSJ.
The ceremony of the first graduating class convened on July 24, 2012 at the African American Chamber Office Facility. Tara started the schedule of events with a Commencement Address. The evening also included commencement addresses by three program graduates, and a Keynote Address by Delores Thompson, VP Operations of the California Black Chamber of Commerce.
Together, Tara Lynn Gray and Delores Thompson presented each student with a Certificate of Completion in Training. Special Certificate of Recognition were also presented by the Office of Congressman Jerry McNerney, Assemblywoman, Cathleen Gilgiani, and Assemblyman Bill Berryhill.
BLISS is funded in part by the AT&T Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. It is with anticipation that the next BLISS Training Class will commence in September 2012. As the initiative continues to grow and help improve the status of micro enterprises, we hope that you continue to show support.
Check out Recordnet for another take on the inaugural BLISS graduation and read the initial story on the full program.