On May 22, PayPal partnered with Walker’s Legacy to host an event in downtown Atlanta supporting local entrepreneurs as part of PayPal Small Business Month. Walker’s Legacy, an organization dedicated to supporting women-minority-owned businesses, leveraged their great connection with the community around Atlanta to bring together 50+ small business owners (mainly minority women) to learn how to navigate the digital marketplace and growing a small business.
The event began with a panel of local Atlanta small business owners, all of whom were minority women, who shared their stories of growing their businesses and how digital tools played a role in their success. Each woman talked about the hardships that they experienced and barriers that they had to overcome. It was an inspiring display of perseverance and drive on the stage as each entrepreneur shared her respective story. The panel was moderated by Theia Washington Smith, Founding Executive Director of City of Atlanta’s Women Entrepreneurship Initiative, a small business incubator funded by the city of Atlanta, specifically targeting female entrepreneurs.
The audience then got an opportunity to lend their voice to the event during a focus group/live survey session that enabled attendees to share their motivations, hardships and needs as they look to grow their businesses. Usman Ahmed, PayPal’s Head of Global Public Policy facilitated the discussion so PayPal, in addition to the attendees, could learn how the small business experience can be improved.
Finally, the event closed with a fireside chat between Natalie Cofield, Executive Director of Walker’s Legacy and Adriana Bello, PayPal Sr. Director of CBT. The two spent time discussing the challenges that women (and particularly minority women) face as they set out to launch and grow their businesses. Adriana was able to relay her experience coming from Brazil where opportunities for women are not the same as men. They also touched on what organizations like Walker’s Legacy and PayPal are doing to enable small businesses success and create more opportunity.
The event was a fantastic centerpiece to the PayPal Small Business Month calendar and delivered on the mission of celebrating entrepreneurs and finding ways to serve and recognize communities of small business owners like women and minority owned women.