by Jarquita Brown
Higher Purpose Co surveyed many Black entrepreneurs in Mississippi at the beginning of COVID-19 to determine their business needs. According to the responses, many stated they were in need of funding, financial management, marketing, and legal support. Since the initial COVID-19 survey, several conversations with members have revealed the need for mental health support.
“Black residents’ quality of life in Mississippi has been significantly impacted before and during the pandemic. We have already deployed $500,000 of our relief grant funds to Black entrepreneurs, farmers, and artists across the state. Now we are taking our commitment to another level with our free business membership and staying true to the innovation of Higher Purpose Co. We are the only Black led economic justice 501c3 nonprofit in the state to offer business advising, funding, and education at no costs and now we are adding free mental health support.” said Tim Lampkin, CEO & Co-Founder of Higher Purpose Co.
Studies show that many successful entrepreneurs have faced many unique challenges while on their journey of entrepreneurship. There is a lot of stress, anxiety, and sometimes depression that comes with being an entrepreneur. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues.
Higher Purpose Co (HPC) now offers six free mental health sessions with a licensed therapist to HPC business members. Mental Health Counselor and owner of Legacy Wellness Services, Nicole Lewis, LCSW has been contracted to provide this essential service.
“We should all be mindful that our mental health is connected to our physical health. I am aware that HPC works with entrepreneurs, farmers, and artists, and those are all different things, but it all comes down to obstacles as a Black person. I am hoping that HPC members gain a better understanding of themselves and the way they operate in their field. It is important for me to help HPC business members navigate that space, so whatever realm they are working in, they will be able to continue to grow and continue to be their authentic selves no matter what they face.” said Lewis
Higher Purpose Co recently launched its Business Membership application for Black entrepreneurs, farmers, and artists across Mississippi. Over 100 applications have been received in one week. The application is located at Higher Purpose Co’s website here and will remain open until January 21, 2021.
To be considered an HPC business member, the entrepreneur, farmer, or artist has to be a resident in the state of Mississippi, have a Black-owned for-profit business located in Mississippi, and the business must be in its early to growth stage within HPC’s seven priority business sectors: food, arts, housing, beauty, education, healthcare, and transportation.
Membership also includes one-on-one business advising, access to the Higher Purpose Business Fellowship, Higher Purpose Apparel T-shirt, monthly business education meetings, referrals for credit counseling, marketing, accounting, legal aid, and eligibility for a Business Growth Grant up to $2,500 through the Higher Purpose Funding Network. Membership is also free for the first 12 months.
Lewis has already conducted training with the HPC team and started to provide confidential HIPAA- compliant mental health sessions to HPC members. She emphasized the fact that all entrepreneurs need all the support they can get while running a business. Because she specializes in working with Black entrepreneurs, she shows them ways to navigate through their feelings and emotions while in therapy.
Higher Purpose Co Membership and Operations Coordinator Kristle Wardlaw said it takes mental and physical strength to run a business. Wardlaw said, “We consider our HPC members’ family, and we do everything in our power to ensure they are provided with resources not only for their business but for themselves as well. The best investment you can ever make is in your own health.”
To apply for Higher Purpose Co Business Membership, visit www.HigherPurposeCo.org. For more information about the application process, contact Kristle Wardlaw at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 662-592-1815.