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Higher Purpose Co. Guides Black Entrepreneurs to Resources in Mississippi Delta and Beyond

CLARKSDALE, Miss.—As a high-school student, Tim Lampkin would greet guests as they entered the back room of Visionz Photography Studio, a business he opened inside an office building on Desoto Avenue in Clarksdale, Miss. After snapping a multitude of photos, Lampkin would escort clients from the room cluttered with lights, digital cameras, green screens and props to his front office.

Once seated, the 16-year-old would upload and pull up the new photos on his computer screen, viewing each pose with the customers and channeling his entrepreneurial spirit to sell them on one of the studio’s photography packages.

“We were way ahead of our time,” Lampkin told the Mississippi Free Press when recounting his time operating the business funded through a youth entrepreneurship grant from the Mid-South Delta Leadership program. “People take regular pictures now, and they transpose the background—basically PhotoShop—but we were doing this in 2003. We had the technology to edit and print pictures in real time. I was the youth sales manager. That was my first real entrepreneurial venture.”

From the sidewalk of the building that once housed his first business stands the brick building where he opened the Higher Purpose Hub almost 20 years later. Lampkin, whose organization, Higher Purpose Co., purchased the old furniture store in 2019, plans to use the space and adjoining Greyhound bus-repair station to house the company’s new $3-million enterprise.

“This will be a regional community work hub,” he said in part three of a video miniseries that Higher Purpose Co. created in partnership with Third and Wonder Production House to highlight Black entrepreneurs, artists and farmers in Mississippi. “We are packing in so many amenities that will be able to serve the community.”

The Higher Purpose Hub will house a food hall, a creative learning-lab retail store and the North Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

Business owners who join Higher Purpose Co.’s network gain access to resources to help further their company goals. HPC launched in Clarksdale, Miss., but now has members from across the state. Photo courtesy Higher Purpose Co.

“We believe in doing a lot of things in Clarksdale first

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