Youth Entrepreneurs

Bringing It Home: Building a Local Economy for Everyone

Youth EntrepreneursCalling All Youth Entrepreneurs!

Do you ever dream of starting your own business, or have a hobby you want to turn into a business? Have you ever had a lemonade stand? Do you ever babysit? Mow lawns? Make jewelry? If the answer is “Yes!” it might be time to call yourself an entrepreneur and think of your work as a real business.

Once again this year Self-Help Credit Union is offering budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to create, build, and promote their businesses before a wide audience. The fourth annual “Bringing It Home” conference, “Building a Local Economy for Everyone,” will be held Saturday, July 28, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the A-B Tech/Mission Health Conference Center at 340 Victoria Road. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided by SMK Café and T.D.’s Major Creations. Free child care will provided by the YWCA of WNC, and interpretation services by Cenzontle.

The focus of the 2018 conference will be on youth. A special feature, Youth Business Expo, offers participants a chance to have a free table to promote their business, gather new clients, and even, perhaps, earn money during the conference.

Self-Help is especially interested in encouraging young people of color to think about growing a business, whether on the side while attending school or college, or as a future means of making a living. “Entrepreneurship can be a great tool for self-empowerment,” says Hunter. “And being a ‘serial entrepreneur’ is a completely valid career path for many people.”

Martin Eakes, CEO of Self-Help/Center for Responsible Lending

The keynote speaker will be Martin Eakes, visionary co-founder and CEO of Self-Help Credit Union, the North-Carolina based financial organization that has grown in 37 years into a major national institution. Self-Help has as its mission “building wealth for everyone,” especially low-income folks, people of color, rural inhabitants, and women. Eakes has received a Ford Foundation Visionaries Award, a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, and, in 2013, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award. Another organization founded by Mr. Eakes, the Center for Responsible Lending, received a MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Mr. Eakes will share his own story of how his youth influenced the decisions he has made as an adult.

Gloria Shealey, President and CEO of the Daniele Company

Also speaking will be Gloria Shealey, CEO of the Daniele Company in Durham, a major construction company with clients throughout the country. With more than 25 years in building construction and project management, she serves as chief strategist and business developer for the company. She also served as the first woman president of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC), a construction trade association, from 2012-2015, and was inducted into NAMC’s Hall of Fame, the organization’s highest honor of distinction. She was recently honored as the 2018 Business Woman of the Year by the Greater Durham Black Chamber of Commerce.

Tyron Young, owner of The Gift Production Company

The Youth keynote speaker for the conference will be Tyron Young, founder and owner of The Gift Production Company, a media and marketing company, whose primary goal is “delivering higher value to business owners” to meet “the crucial web and marketing services needed in any marketplace.”

Self-Help holds each annual conference to draw attention to a specific aspect of the area’s economy. Previous years have focused on building racial equity in our local economy (2017); the role of cooperative businesses and credit unions in building African American financial strength after the Civil War (2016); and the importance of buying locally, sourcing locally, and creating local value chains (2015).

The 2018 conference will have two pitch sessions for young entrepreneurs. Participants will be selected at the July 10 workshop, and can pitch to the entire audience during the conference.

Other featured conference speakers will describe their own journeys to success: Aja Cobbs, founder of the Art Trap House; Stephen Smith, owner of MSLean Landscaping; and Gene Bell, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville. There will also be performances by the Emma Community’s dance group, RAICES, and the Hillcrest High-Steppers drum and majorette group.

Workshops include:

“Making Your Way Out of No Way,” a panel featuring people who have found a way to personal success despite all odds: with former NFL player Leonard “Head” Little, Damion Bailey of Wonderful World of Plumbing; Mark Jones, real estate developer and broker; Anna Smith of OnTrack WNC Financial Education and Counseling; and Keyla Estrada, Tzedek Fellow.

“Resources for Youth,” with representatives from MANOS, YTL, Word on the Street, Asheville Middle School Success Program, and In Real Life, moderated by Kimberly Hunter of Mountain BizWorks.

“Marketing Your Business,” with Youth Keynote presenter Tyron Young.

“Beyond Financial Literacy: Building Wealth,” with Mark Jones and Anna Smith.

“Developing Aces: Understanding Intergenerational Poverty,” with Bill Buchanan of Asheville Youth Mission, as well as Self-Help Summer Interns.

“Introduction to Self-Help and the Center for Responsible Lending,” with representative of different aspects of Self-Help’s work.

The 4th Annual Bringing It Home conference will be held in the A-B Tech/Mission Health Conference Center, 340 Victoria Road on Saturday, July 28, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. To register for a ticket or to sign up for the Expo, visit For more information, contact Jane Hatley at Early registration is advised.

The Urban News is a co-sponsor of this conference. For a full list of sponsoring organizations, visit the conference website at