‘No matter what, everyone wanted to see that we all made it through the year in good health and good spirits’

Tawonda Burks, Business Success Strategist (Owner), ELOCINA

“Over the past year I have learned the importance of automation for my business. With the pandemic hitting us all, I had an increase in individuals wanting to start their own business and take entrepreneurship courses. Prior to the pandemic, I taught courses face-to-face, so this forced me to implement my learning management systems and meet the needs of my clients by offering online learning 24/7 and, on some occasions, live webinars. I had to automate systems to keep up with the demand. Most importantly, this year has taught me to navigate in ways to meet the needs of my clients.

The community for which I mainly serve are African Americans. I had several individuals come to me wanting to start a business but lacked funding. However, a small community of individuals stepped in to support and help finance start-up costs. I also consulted, provided education, and invested in their entrepreneurial journey.

The African American community was impacted in several ways that many only thought was about access to vaccines, personal finances, and business grants. However, the community struggled with child care, elderly care, spiritual/emotional care, and a host of other things. There were times when I was working from home, running a business, studying, and also lending a helping hand to care for friends, family, and clients’ children while they worked. I also had customers that ordered products from me and paid double the price to help the aspiring entrepreneurs that I help.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

The one positive thing I have learned from this experience is that no matter what, everyone wanted to see that we all made it through the year in good health and good spirits.

Rochester is a great community with great individuals. We have certainly come a long way but we also have a way to go! I do believe we will get there with supporting small businesses better as well as minority owned businesses. If not, it is the goal of ELOCINA to ensure this happens.”

READ MORE FROM ROCHESTER MAGAZINE: ‘Rochester stands together’: Insider stories from 500 days that changed Rochester business