She pays it forward!
Entrepreneur Pinky Cole gifted LLCs to every member of the Clark Atlanta University graduating class, 11 Alive reports.
Pinky Cole is the founder of Slutty Vegan, an Atlanta-based plant-based burger chain. Recently, Cole delivered the commencement address at his alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, speaking to the class of 2022 about their own pitfalls on the path to entrepreneurship. Cole graduated from HBCU in 2009, moving to Houston to work in education.
“It took me five days to realize I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher,” Cole recalls.
Disheartened, Cole borrowed $40 from a friend and drove to the airport with no real plan in sight. An airline employee saw Cole in tears, raising $240 to help her get on the plane home. Cole eventually found his footing in the restaurant business, but admitted it took him time, his The Slutty Vegan brand is now valued at over $100 million after its launch only four years ago.
“Why am I telling you this? I tell you this because 13 years later, this same broken, broke little girl now owns and operates not one, but two multi-million dollar businesses in the midst of a pandemic,” Cole told graduates.
She then emphasized the importance of failure, encouraging them to fail quickly and find inspiration in those failures, making sure to always get back up and try again.
“I’m telling you, Class of 2022, I want you to fail…I want you to fail so hard that you become an expert in failure and earn a PhD in Failology.” I want you to fail because failing isn’t failing at all – it’s finding aspiration in losses… Pinky Cole had a business and lost it all. My car was repo’d, kicked out of my house, went bankrupt, nearly lost my mind – and nearly four years later now owns and operates a $100 million vegan brand. She found aspiration in losses. You think I was going to give up because of a failure? Surely not. And neither do you,” Cole said.
In conclusion, Cole revealed that she is offering LLCs to the entire graduating class so they too can start their journey as an entrepreneur. The restaurateur partnered with Varo Bank to buy the LLCs, Cole told reporters the total cost exceeded $400,000.
“Every graduate of this audience will leave this stage as a business owner,” Cole exclaimed.
One such student, Ariyana Griffin, a graduate in mass media arts, said it was “amazing.”
“[To get a] tool that I know I can use to move me forward not only in my career but in the period of life [feels amazing]“, said Griffon.
Photo courtesy of Elijah Nouvelage/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution