CATCH graduates third cohort

Ten graduates of the CATCH program received $2,500 for completing the 15-week course on Monday, Nov. 27



ST. PETERSBURG – The Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corp.’s (TBBBIC) CATCH small business program graduated its third cohort Nov. 27. Held at Sunken Gardens, the ceremony celebrated the progress of each graduate as they were joined by friends, family, community leaders and business owners.

This session, 10 entrepreneurs and business owners graduated from the CATCH program – which stands for Coachable, Action-oriented, Timely, Collaboration and Help. These skills and qualities are instilled in the program’s participants throughout the 15-week course.

Graduates walked out the door with a check for $2,500 in hand for completing the rigorous course.

Mistress of Ceremony Deborah Figgs-Sanders called for a moment of silence for Rev. Claude Williams of Victory Christian Center who passed away in October. Williams gave the invocation each year for the graduating ceremony.

The CATCH program was born from the realization that small business owners are not necessarily only in need of financial assistance, but also training. In partnership with the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, the TBBBIC expanded its community development services by debuting the program last year.

Senior Relationship Banker of Bank United Brenton Everett, left, presented President & CEO Albert Lee of the TBBBIC with a $7,500 check to help further the program

Senior Relationship Banker of Bank United Brenton Everett, left, presented President & CEO Albert Lee of the TBBBIC with a $7,500 check to help further the program

By the end of the course, participants developed mission statements and elevator speeches, created vision boards and learned fundamental skills such as how to use QuickBooks, an accounting program. Graduates were also required to practice using Facebook as a networking and collaboration tool.

“If you don’t network you will not have a business, it will not grow. You never know, the person sitting next to you could hold the key to your future,” said Rene Edwards, a 2016 CATCH graduate who just started selling her line of skin care products called Skin Kandii in the St. Pete Store.

Mayor Rick Kriseman not only thanked the CATCH participants for sticking with the program for 15 weeks but also their support systems for being a stabilizing force in their lives and for giving them the courage and strength to pursue their dreams.

“What they are doing isn’t easy; what they’ve done isn’t easy to get to this point and they’ve needed support and they are going to continue to need support,” said Kriseman, praising President & CEO Albert Lee of the TBBBIC and CATCH program coordinator Tahisia Scantling.

Lionel Shipman of Shipman Consulting, a financial and life empowerment company that specializes in education and motivating people to improve their financial outlook, was asked to give this year’s cohort some encouraging words.

“From time to time, we will encounter things, events, circumstances and sometimes people who will cause us to stumble or even fall in life,” Shipman said, referring to them as stumbling blocks.

He told the students that some stumbling blocks may appear because life happens, some are self-inflicted and some are laid there by others. Regardless of how they appear, he said, we have to get around them or get over them to progress in our endeavors.

“As you step on the stumbling blocks in your lives, they become stepping stones,” he said. “When this happens, you learn to view things from a different perspective.”

Business owners and entrepreneurs can start applying to join the next group of CATCH participants by visiting and downloading an application.

Tracy Dancil is the CEO of Urban Agency Staffing Consulting, LLC, a privately-owned business with a core staff of experienced Human Resource professionals. Her company’s mission is to: “Make life better for the people we serve.” For more information, call (727) 642-7990 or email

Brittanee Harris shares her vision through customized apparel. Designed to empower, motivate and encourage young girls, Mia Girl Magic brings the inner beauty out of every girl through fashion. Her vision is to creatively promote girls of the future to live beyond their biggest dreams. Be power, be great, be magical. For more information, call (727) 495-1111 or

Lenard Hayes is the CEO of Sparkly Clean Services, which provides excellent cleaning services for cars, houses and windows of residential and commercial properties. Sparkly Clean Services beautifies your property and prolongs its durability. For more information, call (727) 678-6478. (No photo available)

Mark W. Jackson is an entrepreneur and owner of Certified Computer Repair, a company that has become a recognizable source of dependable technical support and consultation in Tampa Bay. With a focus on customer service, his mission is to provide clients with expert IT consultations and the technical advantage that will allow them to be most productive and secure. For more information, call (727) 520-8320 or visit

Kenyatta Killins has created a unique and memorable salon experience with love, creativity and soul with her shop Meraki Beauti. Located at 4156 5th Ave. N, services include specializing in natural and relaxed hair. For more information, call (727) 623-3903 or

Erin McFarley’s Nature Industries, LLC is an all-natural based hygienic company that aims to show the importance of using natural-based products for overall health. Through spreading this message, she hopes to help others prevent breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses. “Be a force of nature” by using her product line that includes deodorant, underarm trans clay powder, toothpaste and much more. For more information, call (813) 446-9946.

Karima Mobley is the CEO of Kay’s Seafood & More, LLC, which prepares a wide array of various seafood entrees that are always fresh and made to order. The freshness of her food sets her apart from her competitors. Each dish is bursting with flavor and embodies an exquisite taste that is sure to satisfy your appetite. For more information, call (727) 641-2851 or

Nakeisha Peak is the founder of Sunshine Support Services, LLC and their mission is to provide quality support services to individuals with disabilities. They would like their clients to maximize their independence so they can reach their full potential. For more information, call (727) 453-2672.

Chernique Williams is the creator and CEO of Finer Fragrances by Chernique. Her amazing line caters to both men and women with a sense of style and sophistication while providing a captivatingly fragrant experience. For more information, call (804) 943-9442 or visit

Latosha Williams is the owner of Sasha’s Boutique, which specializes in the latest fashions, footwear, jewelry and accessories. She also provides notary service. For more information, call (727) 520-6949.

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