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Entrepreneurs Academy 101 Teaches Skills to Help Participants Launch Their Own Businesses

Last month, Entrepreneurs Academy 101 owner Brenda Myers sat in a crowded auditorium at the Capitol Neighborhood Association Center (411 Broad St.) in Jackson, Miss., among students, their friends and family members. Prominent community members from the capital city such as W.K. Kellogg Foundation Director of Policy and Advocacy Dr. Rhea Bishop, Mississippi Rep. Zakiya Summers, Center for Social Entrepreneurship Executive Director Shante Crockett and Systems Companies Chief Executive Officer Toni Cooley.

One by one, students presented their visions for businesses they believed could shape the landscape of Jackson and beyond. Myers watched as her mentee, a young woman named Charissa Johnson, took to the podium with eyes full of self-assurance as she pitched her proposal for a business called the Magnolia School of Decorum, which she designed around teaching etiquette to children in Jackson.

Johnson weaved a tale to the audience of her days listening to her grandmother, who taught her how to properly make a bed and set a table and who instilled in her an appreciation for manners and social grace. These lessons held true for Johnson even after her grandmother passed away, and her proposed business would honor the values her loved one bestowed to her.

Charissa Johnson, who enrolled in Entrepreneurs Academy 101 earlier this year, presented her business idea for the Magnolia School of Decorum at the Capitol Neighborhood Association Center in Jackson on Aug. 1, 2022.  Photo courtesy Brenda Myers

Myers noted that Johnson had a tendency to laugh nervously during tense situations when she first began to mentor the aspiring entrepreneur. However, as she spoke of the importance that etiquette training could have for young entrepreneurs like herself in the future, she masterfully delivered her pitch with great professionalism.

“When Charissa spoke about her business plan, we were all floored,” Myers said. “She didn’t stumble over her words or stutter, and her confidence spoke volumes. When she was finished, she looked right at me and thanked me for all I had done to help her and the other students gathered there that I had taught. That kind of experience is what makes

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