By: Lexie Newhouse
In partnership with the Georgia State Leadership Development Office and The Journey with Blue, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (ENI) hosted an intimate panel discussion Wednesday, September 18th about the struggles and successes of being an entrepreneur in Atlanta. The panel featured Michelle Blue of The Journey with Blue, Dayna Thomas, Esq. of the Law Office of Dayna Thomas, Lantre Barr of Blacc Spot Media and Antonio Brown of LVL XIII and Atlanta City Council.
“Don’t settle for good when extraordinary is available,” said Blue. As host of The Journey with Blue, a talk show and community sharing the transparent stories of entrepreneurship, she is familiar with the journey of transforming dreams into realities in business. Blue shared how after studying abroad in Ghana, she started a luxury scarf company committed to providing tuition, books, supplies and uniforms to girls in Ghana to continue their education. Despite the obstacles, Blue encouraged students to pursue their passions and own entrepreneurial endeavors.
A former Georgia State Robinson College of Business student herself, Thomas acknowledged how there is not one single pathway to entrepreneurship. Thomas switched majors at Georgia State from Political Science to Marketing while still achieving her dream of attending law school. “People will put limitations on you for doing things they can’t do,” said Thomas. Whereas her fellow classmates were applying to full time positions, Thomas was occupied with establishing her own practice immediately following law school.
“It’s important to understand that entrepreneurship is about being creative, and as creators, you have the ability to build something from nothing,” said Barr. Noting the sacrifices and challenges that face entrepreneurs, Barr also mentioned how “At every stage, there’s always a new leap.” Having grown his own mobile and web development agency as one of Inc 5000’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America, Barr encouraged students to take those leaps of faith when approaching new challenges.
Through his work in creating the Small Business Entrepreneurship Program, Brown has supported over 30,000 historically underserved college students nationwide, saying that “One of the most significant impacts you can have on a student’s life is the ability to empower them.” He expressed to students the importance of education and mentorship when pursuing entrepreneurship as a mechanism to create a network of resources and connections.
A special thank you to our moderator Michelle Blue and panelists Dayna Thomas, Lantre Barr and Antonio Brown for sharing their insights with students at our Leadership in the City event – Entrepreneurship edition!