Calling all aspiring business owners

BY FRANK DROUZAS, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — For all the young people who are pursuing their dreams, Nicole Phillip would like to give them a leg up. For the 2015 MLK Day of Service, Phillip and her company COCO Entertainment will hold the D.R.E.A.M. Conference (Determined to Reach Entrepreneurial Achievement Movement) Sat., Jan. 17 at the Hampton Inn & Suites located at 80 Beach Dr. in downtown St. Pete.

Nicole Phillip, COCO Entertainment

Nicole Phillip, COCO Entertainment

“One of the things that I’ve really found a passion for is inspiring people—especially youth—to consider and start to pursue their passions for entrepreneurship,” Phillip explained. “The conference is all about providing a pathway for individuals to create generational wealth through entrepreneurship, and walking through the education of what to do and how to do it when starting a business.”

Phillip believes that if young people have such vital information at an early stage, it will increase their chances for success and their startup businesses will not only survive but prosper.

“So many times we go out there and do it wrong, and don’t ask for help or get the right education,” she said, “so this is a way to target young people to start their businesses.”

The conference is open to young people ages 16 to 30, and is for those who already have an existing business as wells as for those who are looking to test the waters of the small business world.

“Our goal is to service 50 participants and to have about 25 volunteers,” Phillip said, adding that there are several other far-reaching aims of the conference itself. “The big goal is to inspire them to take action on their dreams and their passions, even if they work fulltime. I’ve had the opportunity to work fulltime and still run a business outside of it, so all things are possible!”

The DREAM ConferenceShe stated that another goal is to promote the growth of small businesses, which could have a favorable impact on the City of St. Pete, which will ultimately affect families that live in the city and their quality of life.

“Lastly, it’s to really create generational wealth for families,” Phillip said, postulating that even if people lose their jobs in a downward economic turn, they can foster their own gifts and talents to open up their own business.

She added that the conference will focus on all industries and will feature a lineup of speakers, from such organizations as The Greenhouse, which provides business counseling, training, networking and other assistance for startups. Conference participants will also have the opportunity to receive one on one counseling with representatives from SCORE, which provides small business advice and mentoring. Phillip said there will also be experts on hand to talk about the different structures of business design and discuss the process of creating a business in the state of Florida.

“We’ll also have a vision board creation, to map out a plan for yourself personally and your goals,” Phillip said.

Other topics covered will include branding and marketing and finally sales; expert Mark Antonio, who worked as Senior National Trainer for noted self-help author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins, will provide a Business Building Workshop.

The second part of the D.R.E.A.M. Conference will take place on Mon., Jan. 19, and will feature a small business expo, also at the Hampton Inn & Suites.

“A select few—about 10 of the participants—will have the opportunity to showcase their business,” Phillip said. “So their goal will be to invite their friends and family, and we’ll invite the city to come out and they’ll be able to pitch and learn how to put in practice some of the things we’ve put in place.”

Phillip is already looking forward to holding another D.R.E.A.M. Conference the following year if all goes well. She and her company, COCO Entertainment, were involved in the 2014 Day of Service, holding a health and community fair.

COCO Entertainment specializes in creating inspiring brand messaging, designing magnetic websites, and making community outreach simple. They also offer full service printing and website and graphic design services for churches, organizations, businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as planning and managing conferences, meetings and themed events.

Proud to do her part in helping young people on this holiday weekend, Phillip pointed out what it is she admires most about Dr. Martin Luther King himself: “The biggest thing is his boldness to defy all odds,” she stated. “No matter the consequences—whether they were positive consequences or negative consequences, he went with his heart. That’s what I admire most.”

For information about the D.R.E.A.M. Conference, contact Nicole Phillip at (727) 475-5189 or visit www.ministryeventmarketing.com.

To reach Frank Drouzas, email fdrouzas@theweeklychallenger.com

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