West Louisville Trailblazer video series kicks off; LIBA, AMPED help black owned small businesses
The video series helps provide resources, highlight black owned businesses and inspire entrepreneurs.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) -The first video in the West Louisville trailblazer series premiered Wednesday at noon to highlight black owned independent black owned businesses that forged a path to success.
The series is part of an effort from The Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA), which shines a light on Louisville’s black owned business success stories.
“We decided years ago that we wanted our membership to reflect the diversity of the city. Which means, if there’s 24 percent of black people in the city, we want our membership to be reflective of that and have black members,” Johnetta Roberts of Louisville Independent Business Alliance said.
The goal of the series is to help entrepreneurs get started, give them a guide to resources, and some advice.
LIBA partnered with AMPED to help highlight small business resources, such as the Kentucky Small Business Development center, which offers free technical assistance and training for businesses all over the city, including in West Louisville.
“They may need some help writing a business plan, doing our financials, we may need mentors, we may need therapists. So when you think about the education and the wrap around services. That is a high need for any business, but particularly for black owned businesses because our start up curve is higher,” Roberts said.
Inside a building on West Jefferson, is a community of black owned businesses that make up Molo village.
“The intent of the video is to shine a light on a true West Louisville trailblazing business,” Johnetta Roberts of Louisville Independent Business Alliance said.
The first featured guests in the series are William and Christina Starks of G. Starks Realty. The couple said they were inspired by William’s mother, who started the company just over 20 years ago.
“I think I was a teenager, and just to see how she had to go through obstacles trying to sell houses outsides the west end and trying to kick down doors in the late 80′s,” owner of G. Starks Realty William Stark said.
“She was a single mom, 5 kids, and just wanted something different for her life and decided to get into property management,” Christina Stark said. “She’s the one that got me involved and eventually lead me to get my real estate license. I have been licensed for over 18 years and she got us started.”
Roberts said some businesses need funding, some need training, some, such as G. Starks are looking for more clients.
“So for them, a grant might not be as important, but if you have a house that you are trying to sell, if you are trying to maintain a property, reach out to this black owned business that’s been around for twenty years. Offer them your business and they will continue to grow,” owner of G. Starks Realty William Stark said.
The couple acknowledged it is not easy but encourages entrepreneurs to not give up. William Starks said was working at UPS and took a leap of faith when things got difficult when the market crashed in 2007. He said encourages other entrepreneurs to do the same and never give up.
“You are going to get at your lowest that you will ever go, then it is going to get even lower. But you’ve got to be able to sustain it, get resources, get a mentor and just keep going at it and eventually it is going to break and you are going to see the sun shining at the other side of the mountain,” William Stark said.,
The couple said youngest daughter plans to pick up the business to continue it on for a third generation.
LIBA was founded in 2005, and has over 800 members in Louisville.
For more information on LIBA and to watch the video visit www.keeplouisvilleweird.com.
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