Thank You for attending the Business Breakfast 101 on August 9th at the First Data Corporation. It was invigorating to share, hear and learn from all of you and our paneled speakers. We are proud to have brought together such an amazing group of people who are committed to building an inclusive entrepreneurial community in Georgia.
Here are few of the resources and links shared by our speakers - Terri Denison - District Director, Georgia, Terry Blum- Director Institute for Leadership & Entrepreneurship Georgia Tech, Amyn Sadruddin- Program Director TiE Atlanta, Sonjui Kumar-Partner KPPB law firm, Robin Nelson - Photo journalist.
Be sure to mark your calendars for our next event on October 8th at 6.30 pm at First Data office when you will get to hear from. Doug Jackson, Deputy Director of STABLE Accounts. He will be sharing how individuals with disabilities & their families can save without jeopardizing medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). More details will be posted soon here.
TEACHING ENTREPRENEURS WITH DISABILITIES HOW TO BUILD FINANCIAL SECURITY
Synergies Work, Inc. is an Atlanta-based organization that empowers people with disabilities to become financially independent by building sustainable businesses. The nonprofit teams with mentors, investors and corporate and government partners, including the FDIC, to support the entrepreneurial journey of individuals with disabilities. Synergies Work uses the FDIC’s Money Smart financial education curriculum to help people with disabilities save money, plan for the future and become financially independent.
In May 2017, the FDIC and Synergies Work held a Money Smart training session for vocational rehabilitation, behavioral health and community services professionals, as well as individuals with disabilities and their families. During the training, FDIC Community Affairs Specialist Elaine Hunter discussed key topics in the FDIC’s Money Smart Computer-Based Instruction (CBI) program, including credit, checking accounts, scams, credit scores and setting financial goals. A local attorney also discussed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which allows people with disabilities and their families to open tax-advantaged savings accounts. (To learn more about the ABLE Act, see an article in the Fall 2017 issue of FDIC Consumer News.)
To learn more about the ABLE Act, see an upcoming article in the Fall 2017 issue of FDIC Consumer News.
And in August 2017, Synergies Work joined with Georgia Microboards Association, a nonprofit organization based in Decatur that provides training and technical support for people with disabilities, to conduct a one-day Money Smart seminar on how to start or run a small business. More than 50 people attended, primarily individuals with disabilities and guardians of people with disabilities. Hunter taught key lessons from the Money Smart for Small Business curriculum, such as taxation and organizational structures. She also focused on credit and savings concepts from Money Smart for Adults.
Inspired by these two training sessions, Money Smart News offers the following tips for financial educators teaching individuals with disabilities and their families:
Encourage people with disabilities to save as much money as they can so they can address their most important needs. “Make the best use of your money by prioritizing it,” Hunter told attendees.
Aarti Sahgal, the founder of Synergies Work, added: “Look at [the training] as a tool to fight poverty. If you have employment and you don’t know about saving money, how can you budget? How can you plan for the future?”
Tailor the training to each person’s goals and needs. Sahgal said his organization taps into participants’ talents to “expand their vision of what is possible and enable them to contribute to their communities.”
Individuals who attended the training also wanted to “learn about various aspects of owning their own business, including taxation, effects on federal benefits and organizational structures,” Hunter said.
Expand your audience. Consider who may benefit from the training you are planning. For example, in addition to financial educators and potential entrepreneurs with disabilities, attendees at the two Money Smart training sessions included representatives of state agencies and business owners who have disabilities.
On Friday, March 16, 2018 our newest corporate partners, First Data Corporation welcomed us to host our first Business breakfast at their Learning & Innovation Center in Atlanta.
Mary Ann Long, Director, Owner-Associate Client Referral Program at First Data kicked-off the event by sharing how First Data supports small businesses through Clover and other user friendly services.
Mark David Gibson, author and a highly decorated war veteran pre-launched his memoirs - Served in Silence, The Struggle to Live Authentically. Mark, also shared his expertise in supporting small business as he is the national lead for LGBTQ initiative of Small Business Administration. Click here to learn more.
Kate Brady, deputy Director of Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities spoke about the changing employment scene in Georgia and various resources that are available. Click here to access her presentation
Ryan Johnson, Executive Director of Georgia Microboards Association shared information about Microboards & PATHS and how they work with Synergies Work.
Sulaimon Salam, Founder Great Dreams Radio (& an entrepreneur we support) shared his personal story and how he is working to live authentically.
Happy New Year! May the new year bring joy, prosperity, and peace for all of us. Without a doubt, it has been an exciting and an invigorating year for Synergies Work. Briefly, this is what we accomplished:
- Directly advised and guided 10 entrepreneurs interested in setting up their own businesses
- Partnered with Spruill Center for the Arts to showcase and sell the works of our artists at the Spruill Holiday Market
- Hosted two seminars on Building Blocks to Financial Empowerment
- Hosted bankers' round table conferences in Valdosta and Savannah, GA
- Launched our first entrepreneurial event, SOAR, in Atlanta to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs with disabilities and their peers.
But, the most important accomplishment for us has been setting the foundation for strong partnerships with our entrepreneurs and all of you who have supported us. I cannot even begin to thank people who have supported this endeavor (I will run out of space & still miss many).
Join Synergies Works on November 17th in Valdosta, GA for the second Building Blocks to Financial Empowerment training.
In collaboration with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, GA APSE and FDIC, Building Blocks seminar will provide the education and tools to gain financial stability.
The event includes:
- Money Smart Training - Elaine Hunter, FDIC
- Learn about ABLE Accounts - Eric Jacobson, GCDD
- Difference between ABLE Accounts & Trust Funds - Marnie Watson, Bennett Watson Trust, Estate and Elder Law
- Work Incentives planning - Linda Garrett, GVRA
When: Friday, November 17, 2017
Time: 10AM - 3PM
Where: First Christian Church, 1905 North Patterson Street, Valdosta (corner of Patterson and Alden)
Cost: FREE, but RSVP is required.
Lunch will be provided.
We are excited to announce that Synergies Works is now partnering with Spruill Center for the Arts in Atlanta! Our artists will make their debut at Spruill Arts' 24th Annual Holiday Artists Market, opening on Tuesday, November 14th until December 23rd.
Peter An (cards),Yu Yip (hand made pottery and cards) and Juvaes Stratton (paintings) will have their artwork on sale and display at the Spruill Art Gallery. Please come to the market to do some holiday shopping for your family, friends and even yourself!
The Holiday Artists Market will launch on November 14, 2017 with an opening reception at the gallery - and, you are all invited! More details below:
What: Holiday Artists Market - Opening Reception
When: Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Time: 6-9 pm
Where: Spruill Art Center, 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA 30338
We hope you come support the opening of the Holiday Market and this great new partnership with Spruill Center for the Arts!
The May 11 seminar on Building Blocks to Financial Empowerment was organized by Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, Georgia ASPE and Synergies Work. It was our goal to give you information, tools and contacts that you can leverage within your organization and share and build financial capability among people with disabilities. Evaluations showed that all attendees (100%) were extremely satisfied or satisfied with the training received! Mission accomplished!
Currently, one in three Americans with a disability lives in poverty. More than half (59%) are asset poor. They cannot live above the poverty line for three months if their current income stream or credit would stop. Financial empowerment is an important tool to fight poverty. If an individual or a household can have access to financial services to save and plan for emergencies then they can plan to buy a house, start a business, or invest in further education. They can build assets and gain financial security and learn the skills to “get ahead” in life rather than just "getting by."
This seminar was a step towards building financial capabilities among people with disabilities. We are grateful to our speakers - Elaine Hunter of the FDIC and Attorney Elizabeth Appley - for their time and expertise. Money Smart training by FDIC builds the knowledge, skills and confidence and the ABLE account gives individuals the opportunity to act by meeting their unique financial needs. You can download the FDIC Money Smart presentation as well as the ABLE ACCOUNTS handout.
I am committed to continue this discussion and to find more ways that we as a community can give people with disabilities the tools to financial empowerment for their security and freedom of choice. As I move forward with Synergies Work to provide people with disabilities the support and platform to start their own business and have financial stability, I hope that you will join me. We can find ways to work together! Please reach out to me and look for more news and educational opportunities in the future.
Founder, Synergies Work