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Jacksonville Housing Authority looks to prompt Family Self Sufficiency residents into starting their own businesses

August 29, 2017 in Hot Business Tips, In the news, Members Only by admin


Jacksonville Housing Authority looks to prompt Family Self Sufficiency residents into starting their own businesses

Danielle Boston had the opportunity to get the information andencouragement she needed to help her open her own beauty salon someday.

“This is letting me know that it can be done. You just got to go out and get it. It’s not going to just come to you. It’s out there,” Boston said after a morning seminar that featured mentors who spoke on what you need to start a business. About 85 people attended.

The event was part of the Jacksonville Housing Authority and the Small Business Development Center at University of North Florida Entrepreneurship and Employment Fair for residents of the city’s Family Self Sufficient program. Boston, a clerk at the Main Library in Jacksonville, lives in JHA housing but doesn’t consider that a setback.

“They also have faith,” Boston said of the speakers. “Don’t think that just because one door’s shut doesn’t mean you can’t go out and do it.”

Persistence is a big element to starting a business, said Brittany O’Neal, owner of Yum B Cakes, a cake bakery on the Northside. O’Neal was one of the speakers, saying she felt an obligation to serve as an example and provide proof that business ownership is possible for just about everyone.

“I think a lot of times when people are in in certain settings they feel like ‘It may not work for me. I can’t do it,’ ” said O’Neal, who is a native of the Northside.

“We have to let our younger generation know that you’re not a product of your environment, you’re a product of your expectations. It’s very important that they hear this,” O’Neal said.

Shawana Richardson was another mentor in the morning seminar on entrepreneurship. She recalled that she once lived in public housing before starting her business SunSha Fashions Beauty Studio on Normandy Boulevard. To this day, she refuses to look at that as a negative.

“I really wouldn’t call it underprivileged. Everyone has an opportunity to obtain and get information. I’m a former resident of Duval County public housin.g … But I took that and built upon it to advance my way of life, so I didn’t take it that I was stagnant,” Richardson said.

“I think it’s important for everyone to hear. … This is a way of helping them and picking them up and getting them to advance as well,” Richardson said.

Fred McKinnies, president and CEO of JHA, said providing confidence and encouragement was the very point of Tuesday’s event.

“One of the core initiatives here at the Housing Authority is to make families self sufficient and independent of any type of assistance,” McKinnies said. “Jobs, entrepreneurship are just components of that initiative.

“Any pathway we can make available to our residents is very valuable,” McKinnies said.

Drew Dixon: (904) 359-4098

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