ATLANTA - Breaking into the competitive business and tech world is hard but one woman is leaving her mark.
She's building wealth not just for herself, but others, too.
"I have a mission to make Atlanta the best place to start a business," Jewel Burks Solomon said.
Starting a business might sound easy for some.
"In reality it’s hard. I experienced it first hand. A lot of late nights, a lot of tears and a lot of no’s," Burks Solomon said.
This is one of the many reasons Jewel Burks Solomon works hard to give back to those starting their dreams.
The young entrepreneur brings her perspective to a mega tech company you might have heard of Google!
"I lead Google for start-ups in the U.S. where I have the opportunity to help underrepresented start-up founders across the country figure out how they can grow their businesses in the community where they live," Burks Solomon said.
It’s been a journey for the Howard University Graduate.
She interned with Google in 2009 before accepting a full-time position in 2010 in a different department.
Years later she left the company and came up with a business of her own.
"I came up with an interesting idea around leveraging technology to help people find parts. I was working at a parts company and started a start-up called parts pic," Burks Solomon said.
She sold her company to Amazon where she worked for a few years before making the full circle moment back to Google where she helps startup companies through various programs.
"I had the opportunity to really step in and help 45 Atlanta base founders through a program called the founder's academy. We spent a ton of time with the business owners learning how do you move things you were planning to do virtual," Burks Solomon said.
The program expanded.
"We even stepped in further and helped 76 black founded companies across the US with 35 here in Atlanta with grants and dollar cash rewards between 50-100 thousand dollars," Burks Solomon said.
Her expertise is needed now more than ever as many businesses are having to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. She said 40-50 percent of black-owned businesses may not make it to the other side of the pandemic.
"I think that access to capital is a huge barrier. Again, it’s a reason we are excited to help these businesses with cash. That’s so important. Access to networks is another thing," Burks Solomon said.
So what’s next?
Burks Solomon and two other business owners recently purchased a huge, three-level building in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood. It’s equipped with room for events, a versatile studio, and office space.
"The big word that comes to mind Is collaboration. We want to be able to work together to make our own businesses and other businesses more successful," Burks Solomon said.
This boss won’t stop until others can succeed as well.
"I was a founder in Atlanta and didn’t know where to go. So what I’ve tried to do now is to make sure there are resources available and people know what to do after you have the idea," Burks Solomon said.
Though it hasn’t always been a smooth and easy journey she won’t stop.
"I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me," Burks Solomon said.
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