MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Every Tuesday, as part of our Community Changers Series, we highlight organizations making Memphis better. This week, we caught up with a group that fuels the future of Memphis.
Being an entrepreneur and a small business owner can be stressful. Having someone walk alongside to alleviate some of the stress is where Epicenter comes in.
The company’s President and CEO, Jessica Taveau, says the non-profit organization aims to connect entrepreneurs, those who want to start a business, with the resources they need to grow in Memphis and Shelby County.
“People come to us at different stages and with different kinds of businesses. We try to help you navigate all of the resources available in the region,” said Taveau.
For Kaimesha Wilson, owner of Kaye’s Creamery, Epicenter helped her in a big way. She had a solid business plan and purchased a standalone space, but needed help during the renovation process.
“I am an ice cream lover. I am the person that goes to a new city and finds the ice cream shops,” said Wilson.
Her sister gave her an ice cream maker for Christmas a few years ago, and she started making ice cream for her family and friends. “They would be like, ‘This is great! You should definitely sell this.’ I was like, ‘Oh, you’re being nice.'”
Wilson says Epicenter helped fund her business. “They provided grant funding through their Family and Friends Program that they have. So when we were going through renovations, they helped a lot with that.”
Epicenter also offers programs like patents to products, a pathway if you have an idea for something new. Plus, their co-starter program helps existing businesses get to the next level.
“You think you know a lot when you get into the business. You’re like, ‘Oh, there’s so much more to learn,'” said Wilson.
Taveau says Epicenter’s job is to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start their businesses here and stay here. “We’re really here throughout their journey. They may come to us when they need help launching, and they may come back to us in a later stage.”
That is why Brown Missionary Baptist Church wants to give Epicenter Memphis $1,000 because when you believe in entrepreneurs, you build a more sustainable community.
A true community changer.