Muslimah Baldwin was ready to expand her mobile food cart business, but needed access to capital. At a networking seminar last year, Baldwin learned about the Urban League of Greater Atlanta’s economic empowerment initiative – The Entrepreneurship Center. With help from TEC, Baldwin moved her Dogs on Wheels business into high gear.
“I met with Marc Parham at the Urban League, and he connected me to resources that helped me obtain a $25,000 small business loan. He is an amazing business consultant,” Baldwin said.
“Marc guided me through the proper steps. I was able to purchase another cart that has really highlighted my brand. It’s colorful, fun and shaped like a hotdog.”
TEC, operating since 2004, has a growing reputation for successfully helping startups and emerging businesses reach their goals. TEC offers training on how to start a small business or non-profit, how to bolster for-profit businesses, how to get funding, how to write a solid business plan; and it introduces clients to partners, networking and other opportunities to gain exposure and grow their brands.
In the five years since she started Dogs on Wheels, Baldwin already had taken her business beyond the start-up phase. But she needed capital to grow. Now, with the purchase of the third cart, she is making a memorable imprint at festivals, birthday parties, shows and street food venues throughout the Atlanta area. Billing her hot dogs as “Classic American Eats,” Baldwin said she offers customers a chance to “relish the nostalgic taste of comfort wrapped in a bun.”
At 36 years old, Baldwin said she is proud of the positive example she’s set for her sons, ages 12 and 17, who also aspire to be entrepreneurs. She is teaching them what it takes by allowing them to intern at company events. Her children, she said, continue to be the inspiration for the brand that offers fun and kid-friendly options on her website,www.dogsonwheelshotdogs.com. Baldwin said she is excited about her company’s expansion and has been passing the word along to others that the Urban League is the place to go for small businesses seeking to advance.
Parham praised Baldwin’s determination, which he said represents the drive he sees in most of the clients who come to TEC. Since 2013, TEC has served 1,858 clients and helped clients gain loans and contracts totaling $3,013,246.
“Small businesses become the engines for employment in our communities, leading to stability for families and neighborhoods throughout the Atlanta region,” said Nancy Flake Johnson, ULGA president and CEO. “We are so very proud of our clients like Muslimah Baldwin who are transforming their dreams into viable economically profitable businesses and helping us build Atlanta’s reputation as a place where small businesses can launch, grow and thrive.”