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Name: Dr. Leslie Grace

Business: Elements of Community, Inc. , social enterprise for inner city youth

Industry: Children’s Goods & ServicesSocial Enterprise

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

Reason for starting: Two profound things happen to me that urge me to go into business for myself. When I realize that my degrees did not equate to my wages or debt. The second factor was that I started teaching finances and entrepreneurial classes to the youth and adults to make ends meet. How could I show them and talk to them about opening a business when I did not have one of my own? So I started a few businesses based on what I was passionate about and enjoyed while fulfilling the needs of others.

I have more degrees than a thermometer, but they did not equate to my pay check. I was looking for a way to make extra money and that is how I became an entrepreneur. Now I teach children and their families how to become entrepreneurs.

Related: Read about another female entrepreneur making a difference in her community here. 

How do you define success? Success can be defined in so many different ways. Success is Freedom, love of self and others. Success is leaving a legacy. Success is learning how to make sure that human capitol + social capitol = financial wealth. Wealth in the sense of wholeness: mind, body soul and finances. Success is truly living and not struggling to survive. Success is playing the game of life and winning.

Biggest success: My biggest success is seeing and hearing how people take ownership over their lives and where they want to go based information that was delivered to them. It’s a privilege and an honor to help people learn about their financial capabilities, economic concepts and language, money-making strategies and wealth building techniques to stay in the black. Helping them understand that wealth is the state of needing nothing a sense of wholeness mentally, spiritually, physically and financially. Their success empowers my success.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? The toughest challenge is the death of my grandmother and mother who were my biggest support systems. I hit rock bottom emotional, spiritually and financially when they passed away. I turned my pain into power by meditating on my purpose, daily affirmations and visualizing my goals to come true. I created a vision board and reflecting back I have accomplished everything I envisioned at that time. When I started to go into business for myself many people did not understand my intentions, focus and sickening work ethic. I turned my pain into power by changing my mindset, started hanging around people with like minds and obsessed with leaving a legacy for my children. I used education as the key to self-actualization and helping others to find their truth as well.

Related: Strength is Harnessed Through Struggle 

We added the Inner City Children Fund to help children go to college through the 529 Savings Plan and/or develop start up businesses to help children and their families become empowered and agents of change. This fund was created to empower, inspire and help the economic development of children and their communities.

Who is your most important role model? This list goes on and on about whom I admire. I take different attributes from other people and add them to my repertoire. When I have to make major decisions I imagine what that role models would do. However, one person that I have admired since I was very young; the foundation of my philosophy in life was Frederick Douglass. He stated, “Without struggle there can be no progress.” 
Twitter   @I_amCommunity

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Read about another Children’s Goods & Services entrepreneur here

Edited by The Story Exchange