MOSO Spring 20

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Southern Company


Publisher’s Perspective

An Entrepreneur’s Mindset

A Military Legacy

2 Nonprofits Must Innovate or Die

8 You Are What You Think. How to Think Like an Entrepreneur

24 Supporting Our Veterans

What’s good for business is even better for nonprofits By Monique LaRue

A Conversation with Bruce Gill of the Virginia & Robert Gill Foundation By Edge Staff


3 2020 Events Message From CEO

4 The EDGE Reimagined Rachel Davis, CEO reimagines and reinvigorates a fresh vision for the EDGE. By Rachel Davis


5 COVID19 Response Announcement EDGE Data

6 2019 EDGE Cumulative Data


10 8 Courageous EDGE Entrepreneurs Living the Business Life They’ve Imagined

Impact Award

26 Their Gift That Kept On Giving Experts Limelight

1. Toula Argentis 2. Dan Silverio 3. Sheenica Smiley 4. Rachel Willis 5. Tanya Bryant 6. Shundra London 7. Anna & Justin Holladay 8. Daisy Latimore


22 Making Mogul Moves to Build Your Empire in 2020

27 Marketing 101: Don’t Be Loud… Be Patient AJ Joiner


28 Our Volunteers Mean Business We can’t do this work without business minded, enthusiastic, and resolute volunteers

Dr. Felicia Phillips

MOLA MARKETING MEDIA ENBIZ Editorial Team Monique LaRue : Publisher Brent Cashman : Art Director Shan Wallace : Graphic Design Consultant & Cover Design Premiere Issue

Contributing Writers/Editors Debby Vance Allene Edwards Candice Davis Nicky Holst

Contact for advertising Stay Connected with @THEEDGEGEORGIA : Instagram

ENBIZ is published quarterly by MOLA MARKETING MEDIA, Address: 227 Sandy Springs Place, Suite D437, Atlanta, GA 30328. Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.





Nonprofits Must Innovate or Die What’s good for business is even better for nonprofits


’m overjoyed to introduce the premiere issue of ENBIZ Magazine, a philanthropic business magazine. Now I know what you’re thinking; what in the world is a (philanthropic business magazine)? First, it’s an innovative concept, not the magazine itself, but of its single-minded purpose and use. Second, it’s just great business. This custom publication will give a nonprofit organization and it’s supporters the opportunity to create awareness for work that’s having an impact in our communities; but more importantly, it makes a clarion call to advocates, champions, enthusiasts, corporate funders and individual donors to pour financial and volunteer resources into the nonprofits we love – and in this case, the EDGE. For over 20 years the EDGE has facilitated the launch and growth of solo, micro, and businesses with less than $1M in revenue. It only makes sense for them to find innovative ways to remain viable and sustainable in these uncertain funding times. They owe it to you and their constituents. So with these four pillars intact: Business, Health, Wealth and Leadership, the EDGE sets the themes for future issues.

The EDGE believes there is power in transparency and authenticity in business dealings. What I know for sure, from my work as a nonprofit consultant, marketer and resource development professional of more than 20 years, is that oftentimes many smaller nonprofit organizations are challenged with sustaining funds to operate at its most basic requirements. It is imperative that organizations like the EDGE find unique ways to fund their business – that’s right, I said BUSINESS. From my perspective, traditional ways of resource development like golf tournaments, galas and government grants (not a bad thing if these are working for your organization) to name a few, are becoming more restrictive, excessive or need I say, obsolete. So here are 4 things we dare to accomplish with ENBIZ Magazine: 1. Raise awareness and MONEY for programs that support the crazy, meaningful and data-backed microenterprise development (businesses less than $1M) work that the EDGE has successfully



maintained in Georgia for 20+ years, despite everything – I’ll leave it at that. 2. Represent the EDGE clients in their most critical (business, health, wealth, leadership) stages in business. The EDGE believes there is power in transparency and authenticity in business dealings. So we are going to open it up! 3. Attract successful small/mid-sized companies to the work of the EDGE because they too need opportunities to establish their social responsibility with community organizations. By supporting financially and in-kind, volunteering in various capacities – there is no shortage of the support the EDGE can accommodate today. 4. Give sponsors and advertisers of this quarterly publication the space to shine the light on their company’s work and also the great work that aligns with the mission and vision of the EDGE, like our “Volunteers Mean Business” Network. Read about some of our volunteers in this issue.

You’ll hear from Rachel Davis, CEO of the EDGE about her path to greater work and how she has reimagined the work they will undertake in the years to come. Listen to her heart about the importance of the individual entrepreneur’s mindset, skillset, and level-set for success. ENBIZ Magazine was created as a for-profit project to raise program funds for the EDGE. That’s it! You’ll hear more from me about how this project is having an impact on the future of EDGE programs in future issues – the next issue focuses on the (Health of an entrepreneur, mental, physical and spiritual) will break in July 2020. Oh, we are going deep. Make sure you connect with us quickly and purchase your ads in advance, we are already in full swing for the summer issue! I’m not at a loss for words, by any means, when it comes to championing and asking for resources for the things I’m passionate about. I’ll put my resources and my vitality on the EDGE any day. I hope you feel the energy of this premiere issue with our focus on MINDSET. We’ve been intentional about the contents with you in mind. We hope that this issue gives you a high-level view of what to expect and we anticipate that we have your support in the future. To Your Good Work, Monique LaRue Publisher, ENBIZ Magazine






31: 2020 Small Business Forum (Hosted by Southern Company)

Heart Health Matters

8: Women’s International Day Event at NARS Cosmetics, Shops at Buckhead




ENBIZ Magazine Spring: Business Issue

12: Virtual Veterans Summit

7: Virtual COVID 19 Resource Q&A with the EDGE Experts




ENBIZ Magazine Summer: Health Issue

11: Mogul Tour, Nashville TN (In Partnership)

15: Procurement Contracts & Certifications Symposium Mogul Tour, Cleveland OH - (In Partnership)

14: EDGE Volunteers Mean Business Network Cocktail

27: EDGE Virtual Financial Summit

25: Mogul Tour, Atlanta GA (In Partnership)

30: EDGE Alumni and Corporate Volunteers Experience




ENBIZ Magazine Fall: Wealth Issue

5-7: MogulCon 3-Day Annual Conference to include our Top Women in Business and Diversity | Business Matchmaking


15: Salute to Survivors Honoring Women Warriors IN the Fight Against Breast Cancer





The EDGE Reimagined Rachel Davis, CEO reimagines and reinvigorates a fresh vision for the EDGE.


s we move into this new decade, I’m excited to share that we’re taking the EDGE through a significant transformation to serve you even better. At the same time, I’m undergoing a major personal shift as I discover the full potential of my role as Chief Executive Officer of our organization. In my previous position as Vice President of Operations, I largely remained behind the scenes, where I comfortably planned and executed. In 2015, when the opportunity arose, I took on the role of CEO. I believe deeply in this organization’s mission, and I envisioned the difference I could make in the lives of so many entrepreneurs and the communities they serve. What I didn’t foresee was how much I’d need to stretch and evolve to grow from VP to CEO. I’d been with the EDGE since its inception, but gone were the days when I could strategize and manage in the background. I’d never wanted to become the face of an organization, but fully owning my new role required me to do just that. It hasn’t always been comfortable or easy, but it has always been worth the effort. Over the last five years, I’ve discovered that this position of leadership is the greater work I’ve



been called to do, and I’ve committed to my own personal development so I can maximize my effectiveness. At the EDGE, we’re dedicated to empowering and developing entrepreneurs for greater success, and that means helping you find and succeed at your greater work. To that end, we’ve developed an overarching perspective of how we will deliver and communicate programs at the EDGE. I call this our Mindset, Skillset, Levelset method. We want to equip you with higher-level life skills to balance

work and life (mindset), necessary tools to launch your business (skillset), and the ability to level-up and scale (level-set). This holistic approach allows us to provide a wider array of resources and takes into consideration that personal development is the foundation of professional development, which leads to a higher probability that there will be success in any business undertaking. We’re all called to and capable of greater work. You are meant to build a business that’s profitable—not by sacrificing yourself on the altar of success, but by living as your best self in your business, in your personal life, and in your community. That “whole business-self” is the version of you that speaks to your target market and draws them to you. That’s the version of you that makes the greatest contribution. That’s the version of you that endures the marathon that is entrepreneurship. In this premiere issue of ENBIZ Magazine, we introduce you to the first step in the EDGE’s new approach to wholeness in entrepreneurship, mindset, the foundation of our methodology. You’ll discover what it takes to become a mindful entrepreneur and how you can benefit from—and profit from—a mindful approach to running your business. Join us on this path and lean in to your greater work. MISSION: To Empower and Develop Entrepreneurs To Do Greater Work VISION: To engage entrepreneurs through education, mentor-ship and coaching to Increase the number of successful and sustainable small businesses under $1M worldwide To your greater work, Rachel Davis, CEO


COVID19 Response Announcement Our hearts and constant thoughts are with you during this time. Our micro and small business owners are the heartbeat of our organization and what affects you, affects us. The EDGE and our Women’s Business Center a Small Business Administration resource partner, we have an obligation to meet our constituents business needs during these COVID19 economic stabilization efforts. Please call our office at (770) 694-6593 or visit for more information




2019 EDGE Cumulative Data


Unduplicated clients served

Clients by the Numbers Clients counseled


Clients Trained


Existing businesses served




Businesses launches

Full- Time jobs created

Cumulative training hours

and sustained still in business (974 Woman Owned)

Part-Time jobs created

Cumulative counseling hours


1,249 1,121

97,240 12,116

Client Demographics

75% 73% 76% 9% of clients are Female

of clients served are low to moderate income as per Cobb County HUD income guidelines

of clients are Minority

of clients are Veterans

FY 2019 Stats Clients served unduplicated Trained/Consultant

$2 million in capital leveraged to clients


New businesses launched



IDA matched savings

Capital accessed

Credit Lines




You Are What You Think. How to Think Like an Entrepreneur

Photography by Linda Lawson

How to Find Work-Life Balance in a Digital World. Meico Marquette Whitlock at the NASTAD 2017 Annual Meeting.


ave you ever had the feeling there’s something more out there for you? That you’re meant to do something meaningful and impactful with your life? If you’ve had this feeling, then you’re an entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter whether you run a business, work a 9-to-5, or, like many of us, are struggling to balance both.

At its core, entrepreneurship is all about creating, launching, and running a business that creates value. But for many of us, the closest we ever come to being an entrepreneur is pretending or daydreaming about what it would be like to finally be free to live our purpose.



So, what separates the entrepreneurs from the daydreamers or the pretenders? It’s this one thing: mindset. We have many mindsets or core beliefs that shape how we respond to situations in life. In business, having an entrepreneurial mindset or a core set of

beliefs that gives you the courage to face challenges and respond to opportunities is key to long-term success. It doesn’t matter how many degrees or great ideas you have, a shaky mindset is a setup for failure every time. I was reminded of this lesson the hard way in 2016 just before I made the decision to quit my job to start my business. As much as I loved my work, I knew I was being called to do something different. But a number of fears and doubts stood in the way of me taking the leap.

What if I fail? What will people say about me? I don’t have enough experience or qualifications. It’s too late for me. I should’ve done this much earlier in life. The more I entertained these thoughts, the more unhappy I became. Things were so bad at one point that I was severely depressed, had gained a ton of weight, and didn’t have much of a social life outside of work. I now realize that the low point in my life was actually a gift from the universe. As spiritual teacher Michael Bernard Beckwith puts it, “pain pushes until the vision pulls you.” My wake up call came when I realized that I was putting my health at risk and that, in the words of Wayne Dyer, I didn’t want to die with my music still inside of me.

I now realize that the low point in my life was actually a gift from the universe. As spiritual teacher Michael Bernard Beckwith puts it, “pain pushes until the vision pulls you.” I came to understand there would never be a perfect time to step off the merry-go-round of life to start living my purpose. I began to understand that we all have a unique way in which we have been called to serve and to make a valuable contribution. Even more important, when our work is grounded in how we can be of sacred service to our clients and customers (as opposed to how much money we can make for ourselves), we will always have everything we need to fulfill our missions. This shift in mindset helped me to learn that while fears and doubts are a natural part of the human experience, I have a choice in how I choose to respond to them. I can acknowledge

them while also shifting my focus to solutions and opportunities. What would I do if I knew I could not fail? Someone somewhere is looking for exactly what I have to offer. Now is the perfect time to start living on purpose. Do you have an entrepreneurial mindset or are you simply playing small by pretending and daydreaming? If you’re struggling with getting your business off the ground or taking it to the next level, chances are you need a mindset reset.

Mind Your Business Masterclass: register online at Meico Marquette Whitlock liberates changemakers from work-life imbalance and technology overload through speaking, training, and coaching. Meico is the founder and CEO of Mindful Techie, creator of the Intention Planner, and a trained mindfulness facilitator. He facilitates transformative experiences that foster wellbeing in a hyperconnected and distracted world, and has worked with organizations such as Cigna, Greenpeace, and the World Wildlife Fund. He has been a featured speaker on ABC News, Fox 5, Radio One, and on the main stage at events such as the Nonprofit Technology Conference. References and resources:




Living the Business Life They’ve Imagined 10






Toula Argentis

2B Whole Gluten Free Bakery EDGE alum since 2011 Business Strategy & Preparedness Courses Consultation/SBA Women’s Business Center EDGE Shared Kitchen 1st Annual Shared Kitchen Conference


oula, Founder & Owner, and her amazingly delicious, European-inspired 2B Whole Gluten-Free Bakery and Eatery in the heart of historic downtown Alpharetta! Her second location is set to open in the Summer of 2020 in Decatur, GA. spent 20 successful years working in the corporate world in Canada, the U.S., and France. She reached the top tier as a CFO, but she wasn’t happy. She wanted to make a difference in the world, to help people. Being of Greek descent, Toula grew up cooking and baking Greek foods before dabbling in recipes of other cultures. She fell in love with the art of creating good food, and she realized its power. She truly believed good food could make someone’s life better. And then, she became a mother. Her children were born with food sensitivities, including sensitivity to gluten. When Toula’s children’s dietary restrictions were diagnosed over ten years ago due to food sensitivities and allergies, it forced her family to change their eating habits and when she



saw how these changes dramatically improved her children’s overall wellbeing she became passionate about wanting to help others dealing with food allergy challenges. Finding the glutenfree market limited, Toula rose to the challenge. With patience, support, and experimentation, she created desserts and breads that her children could eat and enjoy. When you take one part loving and devoted Mom in search of good nutrition for her child with food sensitivities and allergies and mix in one part of her love of baking and cooking, then blend with her family’s heritage steeped in both Greek and French Canadian cultures and cuisines, that’s where you will find Toula Argentis, Toula began her experimentation of her gluten-free goodies at home and

at farmers' markets and then became a client and a member of the EDGE Shared Kitchen in Kennesaw, GA.

wholesale markets. Toula continues to win in the local gluten-free space and is the hopeful example of the everyday entrepreneur. With her over 20 years of baking experience and her personal inspiration for wanting to prepare clean food for family meals and desserts, Toula created 2B Whole – an extension of what she provided to her own family. She launched 2B Whole in 2011 at local farmers’ markets and welcomed customers to her current bakery in 2014. To purchase 2B Whole’s Gluten Free Goodies please visit her website or pop into her Alpharetta, GA location for all kinds of freshly baked gluten free goods.

She says the “EDGE” provides startup businesses with a team of experts who will listen to you and your dream. They provided business planning help and asked you the hard questions that will help you determine if you are on the right track. Above all, they have a team of experts (staff and volunteers) who believe in what I want to do and that alone gives a startup or growth business the encouragement it needs to get through the rough patches and hurdles.”

After two and a half years of working in the EDGE Shared Kitchen, she opened her first retail store in Downtown Alpharetta and began selling to the general public as well as





Dan Silverio

The Patty Wagon Food Truck EDGE alum since 2012 EDGE Shared Kitchen Business Plan Course BP Startup Cash Award Circuit Rider Program IDA Program WorkSource Cobb


ight years ago, Dan had an idea to deliver bar-b-que to individuals. The name for that business was Q2U Delivers. Today Q2U is the parent company for his restaurant, 3 food trucks, an ice cream cart, and a full-service catering business. Things have changed from his original idea, but then everything took off. Dan says, “I’m most proud of



the fact that I’ve built something from the ground up within 8 years of company launch. I’ve had the great pleasure of watching the whole company build and grow, and I do live and breathe it all the time, but it's very rewarding”. Dan doesn’t just get up every morning and go to work, it’s a lifestyle he’s created for himself and his family. Dan was able to build his business without going into debt and was intentional about not taking out any loans. “Places like the EDGE are there for support and guidance, but if you don’t have the motivation – it’s not going to happen.”

Dan leveraged the EDGE’s IDA (Individual Development Account) and won a startup cash award through one of the EDGE’s Business Plan competitions. He was first introduced to the EDGE through WorkSource Cobb and completed the business plan

class – Plan for Profit and it helped him refine his ideas. He also was able to have full utilization of and create his food favorites in the EDGE Kitchen. They also provided access to a business coach – they called her a Circuit Rider, it was the best thing I could have ever experienced, and it was a critical resource to my business success.

The EDGE was instrumental in Dan’s success in the beginning stages of his business ideation and startup. It was all I had at the very beginning. EDGE connected me to a wide array of resources, people and fostered strategic arrangements and I was able to grow quickly.” My goal now is to scale the business, gain more corporate catering clients and create awareness for the Q2U brand of food business. So, make sure you visit us online and find out where our food truck will be stopping by next!


Sheenica Smiley A Blind Vision Studios Photograph

ENBIZ Magazine Premiere Issue Featured Photographer EDGE alum since 2019 Business Plan Course Graduate Consultation/SBA Women’s Business Center Active Duty Military


f you don’t know by now, my name is Sheenica Smiley and I’m a Visual Artist. I’m originally from Alabama (often mistaken for being from up north because of my “accent”) and I’m the oldest of 5. I’m also a mother of 1 and family is everything to me. I’m a Creative by nature with a passion for all art forms to include drawing, painting, music, writing, photography & filmmaking. There’s nothing like coming up with an idea and then creating something real. Art is a reflection of you and it’s a blessing to be able to share it with the world. As long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with arts & colors. If it had anything to do with color pencils, markers, and scissors, I wanted IN! There wasn’t one school year that went by where I wasn’t enrolled in an art class and Lisa Frank school supplies was all I ever needed in my life. During my Junior year in high school I joined the yearbook committee and that’s where my love for photography began. I studied journalism and photography basics to include composition & lighting.

After graduating high school and a 2 year stint at Popeye’s, I joined the United States Air Force in 2004 at the tender age of 19. My first duty station was RAF Lakenheath, England where I took my first photography class and learned how to develop film. I purchased my first DSLR Canon camera in 2007 and started my professional photography & entrepreneurial career by doing my very first boudoir photoshoot September 1st of that same year and before the year ended I was a published photographer and the rest is history! I’ve been professionally creating ever since. I have since obtained my B.A. in Film Production, currently finishing my Masters in Entertainment Business, and have worked with celebrities such as Kountry Wayne, Tink and J. Holiday. Although I have branched off into other entrepreneurial ventures, to include real estate investing and teaching leadership

& team building, art will always be my first love. Art is my anchor and I am blessed because of where my work has taken me and excited for what is yet to come. This is only the beginning.

MY EDUCATION > Associates of Science in Financial Management, 2014 > Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production, 2015 > Masters of Science in Entertainment Business, 2019 > Ph.D, Organizational Leadership, Current

MY ACHIEVEMENTS > Published Photographer December 2007 > 15 years of military & managerial experience




4 Rachel Willis The Ripe Juicery EDGE alum since 2016 City of Kennesaw Partnership Business Plan Course Consultation/ SBA Women’s Business Center


o tell me the name of your business and when you got started? Any inspiration behind the choice of the name you chose? The Ripe Juicery, established in 2016, we served our first smoothie March 3, 2017. The name was inspired by old produce labels and fruit boxes and wanting to convey a happy and fresh feeling. We all know that businesses begin or become an idea in our minds when we want something and we can’t find it for ourselves -- we create it, tell me about that process? I saw the need for a local juice and smoothie bar, and as a mom I hated the lack of quick and healthy food options for my family, so I decided I should open something that met that need. I launched a kickstarter campaign to see if people would get behind my idea, and quickly found local support!



Can you tell me how you were introduced to the organization? I found out about the EDGE program through the City of Kennesaw. I gained so much instruction and mentorship from the program. Everyone at the EDGE helped me understand the steps I needed to take to take The Ripe Juicery from just an idea to an actual business.

Okay, is there anything you wish you knew before you started your business? Ha! That is a never-ending question! I wish I had known how much joy would come from the really, really, hard work. I wish I had known how much pride I would get from solving the hard problems, and from seeing my little business make people smile. I had no real idea how happy it would make me to bring what we do to our community. What has been your biggest lesson/ challenge since you started your business and how did you overcome it or what did you learn? Unfortunately, as a business owner, I am my own biggest challenge. I take too much on. I try to do it all. I think I need to figure everything out. I can only do what I can do, and that means I don’t get to do a lot. I have tried to start delegating and outsourcing more so that I am more efficient. To learn more about Rachel and her deliciously fresh creations and food truck locations please visit The Ripe Juicery.


Tanya Bryant

Just Lovely Cosmetics EDGE alum since 2017 Army Retired Veteran Business Plan Course Consultation/SBA Women’s Business Center She’s Next Collaboration with Visa 2019 MogulCon


anya, tell me about Just Lovely? How long have you been in business and what is the inspiration behind your brand name? Just Lovely lipstick is a multi-use moisturizing lipstick line handcrafted with natural oils. October 4th will make 6years of officially launching the Just Lovely brand. I was inspired by my mother's words when I came up with the name Just Lovely. Whenever she saw something beautiful, she would say, “Just Lovely.”

How did you start your business? What was your inspiration? The lipstick phase of the business started during a grieving process of unexpectedly losing my mother in 2014. While my mother was in the hospital, I started to think of life nuggets she imparted in me. I thought about the last time I saw my mother. She told my sister and me to grab her basket of lipstick filled with every shade of red. She said, "never leave home without your lipstick because you never know who may be checking you out." This thought process was the beginning of the Just Lovely brand. Red was the first color I wanted to make in memory of my mother; I named it Red Glory because of her name, Gloria.

shifting my business model from oneto-one to one-to-many by focusing on wholesale accounts and larger events, which helps with overall efficiency. What’s your vision for Just Lovely over the next 5-10 years? Considering the reason why I started the Just Lovely brand, I never thought about selling it in the future. I now realize I must have an exit strategy. Therefore in 20 years, I see the Just Lovely brand owned by a larger company which merges smaller companies that have inspiring stories.

How did you find the EDGE and can you tell me how that relationship with the organization has made an impact? I found the EDGE through a women veteran's program V-Wise. They had recommended some other veteran programs I could tap into to help build my business. Boots to Business was the first program I signed up with through the Edge. This course gave me the ability to focus on what was working well in my business and readjust the things that were not working. I receive a lot of specialized attention from the instructor and the Edge staff. I later received a scholarship for Plan for Profit. During this course, I was able to dive deeper into my business plan, which gave me a clear direction for the future of the business. What has been your biggest lesson/challenge since you’ve started the business and how did you manage through it? My biggest challenge has been running the business on my own. I have learned over the years; I can be creative in building a team, whether it's a virtual assistant or hiring interns to do some of the operations. I have also been





Shundra London SL Designs & Manufacturing

Can you tell me what kind of company you have? What is it that you do? I have a sewing and embroidery business. Sewing is my passion. I’ve been sewing most of my life. It has become a part of who I am at my core.I’ve done quite a lot. If I were just to name a few things: custom draperies, custom furniture covers, automobile upholstery, evening and wedding gowns. I’m dabbling now with custom hand-bags and I’m pretty good with it too. How long have you been in business and what is the inspiration behind the name of your business? I started the business more than 25 years ago. I probably was sewing for longer than that and just didn’t call it operating a “business”. I named the business S.L. Design and Manufacturing. SL are my initials, designs and manufacturing speaks for itself. How did you get into business? What was the motivation? Since I’ve been sewing for so long, I started making prom dresses for my classmates, friends and family in high school. I knew I was on to something (I was good), I just wasn’t sure earlier on what that something could ultimately be.



What was your inspiration? I come from a long line of seamstresses so I got it honest! My Mother (Millie), Grandmother (Beatrice), Great Grandmother (Parthenia) and my great Aunt (Lillian) were and are all seamstresses. I came out of the womb sewing with all that energy. It’s like kids who can just sing, because their parents had gifted voices. I was pretty much destined. How did the EDGE play a role in the development of your business? I was watching a community program on television and learned of a new program that was being launched in Cobb County in the 90s, the EDGE. I had just moved to Atlanta during that time so I was looking for programs and opportunities to help me settle in. I became involved when the program launched and the EDGE became like a second family for me and my children. In the beginning days of the EDGE, it was more than just writing a business plan – it was life survival skills training. My son also followed in my footsteps by utilizing the resources offered by the EDGE. What has been your biggest lesson/challenge since you started your business and how did you overcome it or what did you learn? My biggest lesson has been not having a clear understanding of my financials. It’s

EDGE alum since 1999 Business Plan STEM Tech Training Circuit Rider Program IDA Program Business Plan Startup Cash Award

one thing to create a business plan when you have help, but for the long journey you really need to have a strategy for every stage of the business and having the skills set for sales strategy (how to get customers) how to budget for the short-falls, while still being a single mother, running the business and managing personal and business expenses. It’s a lot and not to be dismissed as a business owner starting out. Tell me your vision for S.L. Designs & Manufacturing over the next 5-10 years? I would like to see S.L. Designs & Manufacturing step into new areas of business, like teaching a Master Sewing Course for beginners and advanced learners online and I would also like to expand my casual wear hand-bags for the everyday woman. If you are interested in learning more about Shundra London’s work and a beautifully detailed and crafted handbags, give her a call or email her at: 404-259-6751,

Okay, is there anything you wish you knew before you started your business? Your business plans are continuously evolving and will often take a direction of its own. You have to be flexible with your offerings, but constantly weeding out what doesn’t work. You put it all together, but along the way, your clients will tell you where you should focus, and that can be places you haven’t imagined yet.

Give me a little background about SGW, when you got started? Any inspiration behind the choice of the name you chose? Sweet Grass Weddings has been in business for over 4 years. Our name comes from the sweet smell of fresh-cut hay on a crisp morning. That smell fills us with a feeling of endless possibilities and we want our clients to feel like that on their wedding day. We have passed that feeling to over 80 couples now. We all know that businesses begin or become an idea in our minds when we want something and we can’t find it for ourselves – we create it, tell me about that process? We planned our own destination elopement in the North Carolina Mountains. We thought that an intimate elopement would be easy to plan. Let me tell you, it wasn’t! Finding vendors whose quality and style you trust can be very overwhelming if this is not what you do on a regular basis. It was all confusing and was very stressful. After our wedding, we saw a real need for an intimate wedding service in Atlanta.

What has been your biggest lesson/challenge since you started your business and how did you overcome it or what did you learn? Quitting our day jobs and going ‘all in’.


How did you find the resources of the EDGE? We came across the EDGE while searching for a business incubator in our area that could help us from the ground up. We had the drive and will to start our own business but had zero knowledge of how to do so. The EDGE offered us the foundation of what we needed to get started. From initial planning to planning for our future, by the end of the classes, we had a full business plan.

We have always been working toward putting all of our energy to Sweet Grass. It’s heart-pounding to think about not having the safety of a 9 to 5 job. We have made a LOT of progress on this one, though this is a lesson that we are still learning to overcome. How do you envision Sweet Grass Weddings 5-10 years from now? We imagine having many different locations of Sweet Grass Wedding over the southeast. Continuing to develop relationships with quality people and venues will allow us to continue to grow.

Anna & Justin Holladay Sweet Grass Weddings EDGE alum since 2013 Business Plan Course Consultation/SBA Women’s Business Center BP Startup Cash Ward




Daisy Latimore The Chocolate Box EDGE alum since 2016 Business Training Consultation/SBA Women’s Business Center




have been in business for over 17 years,” Daisy Latimore stated as she reminisced over the humble beginnings of her family-owned business, The Chocolate Box. Daisy’s handcrafted, gourmet chocolates have won several awards including the Taste of Conyers Best Desserts, Rockdale Citizen Peoples’ Choice Best Desserts, and Goodwill of North Georgia’s Triumph Award. She was also a finalist in the Flavor of Georgia food contest. In 2016, Daisy connected with Rachel Davis the Executive Director of the EDGE and their program geared toward small businesses. Rachel Davis and her staff created a program in conjunction with Etsy for crafters. This program was a great resource for Daisy. She said, “When you start your business you need support, and you need knowledgeable professionals who can help guide you to success. I have received wonderful advice through the EDGE program and some really good contacts for growing my business. It is a great resource for women owned businesses.” Since 2016, The Chocolate Box has participated in several career days at local schools and has orchestrated candymaking classes for special needs children. Daisy has a love and affinity for children. “One of my favorite things to do is to give away a free treat to students who have earned A’s and B’s on their report cards, ” stated Daisy with a big smile. “Twenty years from now, The Chocolate Box is going to be the talk of the town, the place where you always get great customer service and exceptional sweet treats.” The Chocolate Box accepts phone orders as well as orders from DoorDash, Grubhub, and UberEats for the casual chocolate lover as well as the customer seeking the perfect finishing touch for special events. Having established a reputable brand for chocolate treats, The Chocolate Box has had outstanding feedback for making weddings, birthdays, baby showers, teacher appreciation events, employee appreciation events, graduations, and holidays such as Christmas and Valentines Day even more special. You can locate this great candy shop at 3030 Edwards Drive, Conyers Georgia, 30013, or visit for sweet treats and a whole lot of great customer service.

Jewel Burks, Co-Founder, Partpic (acquired by Amazon)

The Aebersold Family, CCA and B, LLC - The Elf on the Shelf ®

Octavia Gilmore, Creative Juice

Monica Maldonado, Interprint Communications


It takes an army to remain the No. 1 State for Business six years in a row. And Georgia is a place where women are leading the charge. • No. 2 in the U.S. for growth in total number of women-owned firms • Top 5 in the U.S. for total number of women-owned firms

Visit to connect and become our next success story.

We SPEAK Business

Georgia Department of Economic Development

BUILDING A BETTER COMMUNITY We’re proud to provide jobs in the communities we serve by energizing large employers and encouraging investment and job growth in our region.


We’re proud to power your lives


Making Mogul Moves to Build Your Empire in 2020


eing a CEO is not an easy task for anyone. Especially during times like we are experiencing now. The current crisis with COVID-19 is crippling a lot of our small business owners who depend on daily cash flow. As a business owner, you need support and a community of like-minded women to support you during difficult times. However, building an empire means working on the business and not in the business although that is not as easy as it sounds. We all need support, even as organizations. This is why USBWN partnered with The Edge to make sure you get the support you need to be successful. There are a few key items that must be in place for this to happen.

First, join a local Women’s Entrepreneurship Organization like the U.S. Business Women’s Network ( Support is important, especially if you’re building a business. Entrepreneurship

can be a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be. The U.S. Business Women’s network is a support system designed for entrepreneurs just like you. Remember you are not alone. There are so many women building freedom through

entrepreneurship by partnering, comarketing and participating in joint ventures together. USBWN is committed to impacting the growth of each member of our organization by giving them the tools and resources to achieve their individual goals and be successful. We have helped thousands of women realize their dream of becoming business owners. We ask USBWN Leadership and Partners to take an oath to help our members thrive as entrepreneurs. We ask each partner to be committed to the advancement of women-owned businesses, to operate with integrity when engaging our members and to hold themselves accountable not just to USBWN, but to themselves as partners and leaders in the community. Our goal is to get you certified! Diversifying your income is important and so is getting certified as a womanowned or minority-owned business. This can position you to achieve the success you deserve. Next make sure you visit, and for more information. Finally, get a good business coach or advisor. You may have accomplished a lot, but there is so much more for you to do. Business coaching provides a way to interact with a professional who has your best interests at heart. They can help you be more effective building your business and balancing your life. Business coaches are a good mixture of accountability partner, sounding board, motivator and even emotional support. The business coach specializes in ensuring that all aspects of your life work together with the ultimate focus on ensuring that your business is profiting. Remember we are here to help you position yourself in the marketplace. For more information email

We have helped thousands of women realize their dream of becoming business owners.

Dr. Felicia Phillips, CEO & Founder MogulCon & USBWN







For More Information Visit: WWW.MOGULCON.COM


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Supporting Our Veterans A Conversation with Bruce Gill of the Virginia & Robert Gill Foundation

EDGE STAFF: Let us start by commending you for honoring Veterans in the way that your family has done for many years and for entrusting the EDGE as a vehicle for making sure that we continue to serve them in your parents honor. Can you share your reason for establishing the Virginia and Robert Gill Charitable Trust? BRUCE GILL: We created the Virginia & Robert Gill Foundation in 2014 three years after Mom's death and 1 year before Dad passed. He was at the stage of wanting to “settle his affairs” while he “still had his marbles” (his phrasing). My interest was building an ongoing legacy, however modest, to their struggles and successes. There



were no grandchildren, so their story would be forgotten after I died. They both were children of The Depression and were desperately poor growing up ... and were able to “turn their lives around” by taking advantage of every available opportunity they could. I suggested to him that a large portion of their estate should go toward the continuation of charitable support he and Mom had maintained through the years. There were always two overarching themes to their giving and their outlook, in addition to the usual community organizations (like United Way, Salvation Army) and the church. Those additional efforts

benefited Veterans and active duty service members. I remember Dad telling stories about how, when he went on business trips, he would find the USO stations (at large airports) and buy everyone a round of lunch or dinner (and/or beers, depending on the time of day). And Mom & Dad ALWAYS believed and preached that getting the most and best education was the best thing someone could do for themselves. Whenever they were asked for “life advice” by younger people, they invariably urged (a) go to college, or (b) enlist (and then use the GI benefits to go to college later). My brother and I were imprinted with that message very early ... I got

degrees from UNC and Duke, my brother enlisted in the Air Force and used his GI benefits to go to Texas Tech, gaining a double major in math & engineering. EDGE STAFF: So your dad’s life really changed when he enlisted. How did his military service impact the creation of the foundation you now lead? BRUCE GILL: My dad had what many people might think, at first impression, was a strange view of World War II ... he always said it was the best thing to ever happen (he always had a strange sense of humor). By that, he meant that if it weren't for the war, he was certain that he was going to spend the rest of his life working on the docks at Jacksonville, FL. He was, by his own admission, a terrible student

When he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and trained as a navigator on the B-17, he saw a path to a non-dock working future. who couldn’t even graduate with his class. He had to get his last few credits in summer school (ALL summer, not just one or two classes) after his class graduated. When he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and trained as a navigator on the B-17, he saw a path to a non-dock working future. Within a couple of months after his discharge, he was sitting in classes at Georgia Tech (What!? Bobby Gill in college!?)

And immediately after graduating, he was recruited by George A. Hormel & Company (now Hormel Foods), where he worked for his entire 35-year career. So instead of ending up on the docks in Jacksonville, he ended up on the Board of Directors at a Fortune 500 company. And he'd swear that it was all thanks to World War II [and Mom, of course, for spurring him on when he got complacent.





Their Gift That Kept On Giving

Tom and Barbara Hughes


om Hughes (1939-1919) was a career entrepreneur with a history of starting, developing, and eventually selling companies. Learning many of his entrepreneurial skills from the late Eugene Stone, the founder of Stone Manufacturing in Greenville, South Carolina, Tom either founded or cofounded seven different companies including: > National Electronic Attachment, Inc., the largest dental electronic claims attachments clearing house > Medical Electronic Attachment, Inc., Electronic Claims and Funding, Inc., the largest dental electronic claims clearinghouse > Pioneer Business Group From 1988 to 1997, he owned Premier Systems Corporation, one of the largest dental practice management systems.Tom was involved with the Entrepreneur Group of Georgia, a major entrepreneurial educational group and Gathering of Angels, a



network of angel investors in the Atlanta metro area. Barbara Hughes, his wife of more than 51 years, worked by Tom’s side in his entrepreneurial endeavors. As an entrepreneur in her own right before joining ranks with her husband, Barbara

was an owner/operator of a retail store in Dunwoody, Georgia. In 2014, through a donation to Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business, the Hughes Leadership and Career Center was created. The Hughes Leadership and Career Program consists of three career success courses that business students are required to complete throughout their sophomore, junior, and senior years. Tom and Barbara Hughes valued education and believed it is a building block for all people to excel in life. They were happy to be generous patrons to the EDGE over the years for their work in the community and were deeply touched by the Business Impact Award named in their honor.



Marketing 101: Don’t Be Loud… Be Patient

We're exposed to thousands of marketing messages daily.

Over and over in different and creative ways. It doesn't matter if you don't get a lot of likes today.

That's old news. As a result, our guards are WAY up to protect us from the bull, the distractions and the things we don't care about. Yet and still, every time WE get ready to sell something, we conveniently and completely forget that other people feel that way about OUR stuff. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

What matters is that you create value over the long haul and deliver it consistently. There is no magic bullet. There is no quick win. The best marketer wins - in the long run. You don't have to be chosen by this magazine, or that panel or the other foundation. You can create your own lane and own it.

The same way you unfriended that annoying person on FB, someone unfollowed you on IG.

That thing you want to do, what sort of value does it add to the world? Who is it for? Who will pay you for it, people or corporations?

Without giving it a second thought. But what I'd like to share is that you can win if you're patient. And thoughtful. And if you provide meaningful value for the people who are watching, reading and liking. Have you ever had something you wanted to sell? Have you ever felt like you're the best-kept secret and you just need the right people to know how dope you are? Here's how you succeed. And read this carefully. Become empathetic to the people who need what you have. Think about what you can say to your target audience, right now... for free, and say it.

The world needs what you have but you need to know these things. All the money you want is in other people's wallets, you've just got to figure out a way to convince them to give it to you. You don't have to be the loudest or the most visible or have a huge budget. The short-term impact of our work is unabashedly dwarfed by the long-term effects. Be consistent. Be patient. Win.

AJ Joiner - Digital Marketing Strategist




Our Volunteers Mean Business We can’t do this work without business minded, enthusiastic, and resolute volunteers

JANET STUGER I volunteer because I believe that I should be sincere in giving back to the causes that are important to me. Volunteering in the community or for an organization that helps to improve their overall impact and philosophy, matters and garners my support and symbolizes true commitment. Being able to contribute to the work of any nonprofit is significant, but the EDGE’s focus on helping small businesses get through their early stages of development has given me more reason to support in various ways. Being able to contribute and volunteer is a great opportunity for me. As an entrepreneur, my association with the EDGE has helped me understand the demands and requirements of entrepreneurship. I’ve also learned first-hand how volunteering can put a smile on people’s faces as you help them believe in the dream they hope to become. Those hopes and dreams fulfilled have been a huge motivation for the reason why I volunteer.

VANESSA HARDIMAN It’s very important for me to get involved (volunteering) with worthy causes. I am a strong believer in using my talents and experiences in business, nonprofit effectiveness and fundraising to assist community-based organizations to impact in the communities they serve. I have been involved with the EDGE for 5 years and have enjoyed seeing the organization reach its target audience of new and established entrepreneurs. The EDGE serves as a bridge for individuals interested in pursuing entrepreneurial interests. They also provide services to established businesses that are interested in staying current on relevant and effective business practices. As an entrepreneur and owner of my own company, I see the value and necessity for organizations such as the EDGE and I want to continue assisting and volunteering with the EDGE as they grow and expand to reach the larger community.



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« Julia Tucker, CEO & Founder (404) 673-8066 Kennesaw, GA 30152

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1600 Fort Benning Rd. Columbus, GA 31903 Open 8:30AM Phone: (706) 322-9599

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