Accelerate Northside makes an impact on a new business owner

Ruben Onsu

“If I didn’t do it now. When? If not me, then who” said the new business owner Jermela D-Haynes. The Lafayette native hopes her story encourages others to take a chance and start a business plan. D-Haynes took her own advice when she stepped down from her nearly 14-year career […]

“If I didn’t do it now. When? If not me, then who” said the new business owner Jermela D-Haynes.

The Lafayette native hopes her story encourages others to take a chance and start a business plan. D-Haynes took her own advice when she stepped down from her nearly 14-year career with Acadian Ambulance, which was understandably scary for the windowed mother of two.

“Ultimately, I just wanted to make Jermela happy. I made the huge step to say I’m going to hang up my corporate profession and step out into faith.”

Along her journey, Jermela came across UL’s new program called Accelerate Northside.

“The purpose and the goal was to say okay, let’s take small business owners and entrepreneurs and people who just have ideas, surround them with support from an education standpoint, from a community standpoint” L.E.E.D. Center’s Jonathan Shirley said.

There were 35 graduates in this 6-week course, and for Jermela, she received her certificate of completion and celebrated her grad opening all within two weeks.

“It was somewhat surreal simply because I always felt I had a good product. I have several people support me throughout this whole journey.”

All the support from family and the community makes the grand opening of Sweet Envie that more special.

“Just seeing the small part that we were able to play in her success so far. Just knowing how much her classmates how much, they support her. And just people throughout the community. It’s that community aspect that I’ve enjoyed about the program”L.E.E.D Center’s Kevin Guillory said.

Fall applications will open in mid-July, while more opportunities will be offered in the Spring.

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