Reporter/Lynchburg Bureau Chief
5:26 PM EST, February 1, 2012
Stefanie Prokity spends her day talking with parents and school administrators. She runs a consulting business that shares educational strategies.
"We specialize in and are passionate about educating, equipping, and empowering parents so that they can help their child be successful at school," Prokity said.
Getting the business started was a risky venture. Six years ago, Prokity left a comfortable job as a high school principal to launch her company with two friends.
"It took a tremendous amount of courage, perseverance, and faith," said Prokity. "There were a lot of obstacles."
Today "Successful Innovations" reaches customers in 36 states, and expects to sell a million dollars worth of products this year.
Their success is something city leaders want to duplicate.
"Increasingly in the 21st century economy, entrepreneurs are the real drivers, the real emotive force in pretty much every regional and local economy," said Erik Pages, an economic development consultant who works with Lynchburg's Region 2000 Partnership.
Region 2000 is a non-profit that supports economic development. The organization is launching a new strategy to encourage entrepreneurship.
"It's a lot about networking and getting people informed," said Region 2000 Executive Director, Bryan David. "We want to make sure they have the best choices available."
Region 2000 and its government partners will support activities that highlight entrepreneurship as a career option.
By doing this they hope to motivate others like Prokity, and show that starting a small business isn't as scary as it sounds.
"There are challenges and there are obstacles, but the rewards are just tremendous," said Prokity.
Region 2000 is partnering with Central Virginia Community College to get its project off the ground. They hope to target future entrepreneurs at an early age, and connect them with resources that will help them become successful.
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