Gov. Parson, mayors of St. Louis and Ferguson speak at graduation of Urban League’s business training program


FERGUSON, Mo. – The governor of Missouri joined the mayors of St. Louis and Ferguson in recognizing the graduates of the Urban League’s Ready! Set! Launch! program.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson visited the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center on Tuesday for the 12-week business training program’s graduation ceremony.

“If you really want to move the needle in society, it’s going to be through a job,” Parson said. “We all know that we just gotta do a better job promoting it and, I think, when you see these ladies that are here tonight, they’re stepping up as small business owners and a gentleman that’s with them also.”

The 12-week program creates opportunities for entrepreneurs who get on-the-job training to create or expand their business.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the vision that we had from Maureen (Brinkley),” said Urban League CEO Michael McMillian.

“I want these ladies to be a model for other women who decide to do the same thing,” said Brinkley, the director of the Small Business Administration’s St. Louis District Office. “This was my dream, now they’re fulfilling their dream, and I’m going to ask them to go out a help someone else’s dream come true.”

The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and its Women’s Business Center formed a partnership to grow the program.

“You get exactly what you need, the help you need, and you get to partner with some amazing companies and corporations,” said Tendai Morris, president and CEO of Healthy Hair Solutions.

Small business opportunity was the focal point at Tuesday’s celebration.

“Small businesses are how this economy is going to recover and it’s important that we invest in small businesses, then they grow and employ other people,” St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

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