Empowering People
& Revitalizing the Community

Celebrating Entrepreneurship at LAEDA's Annual Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2016

Posted on 11/2/2016 by EDTP Coordinator in LAEDA News

Camden, NJ- Thursday, October 27, 2016- The Latin American Economic Development Program Association, Inc. (LAEDA) celebrated their annual graduation ceremony for the EDTP class of 2016. The graduation was held at The Salvation Army Kroc Community Center in Camden, NJ. The graduating classes included the sessions from Fall 2015, Winter 2016, and Spring 2016 of the Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP).

 “Each individual came to LAEDA looking for an opportunity to start a business and learn the tools for doing so," speaks Raymond L. Lamboy, President & CEO of LAEDA. “Our Alumni are an important part of our family and continue to being involved in our success though volunteering, helping out, and donating.” The graduates of the EDTP all wanted to be a part of the growth of small businesses and being successful business owners. They have worked with dedication on their business plan and in the EDTP.

The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP), which started in 1990, is an intensive nine week program that takes place three times a year. The EDTP has graduated 75 classes, helping to make a significant impact in developing South Jersey communities, but most important in the lives of hundreds of entrepreneurs to help them to start their business. As of to date, there are 966 graduates, who have started 558 businesses and created 1,245 jobs.

“What inspires you to do your particular small business? Going through the EDTP is a great example for that commitment and dedication,” says Mariluz Gonzalez, LAEDA Board of Director's chairwoman. “ I have talked to EDTP graduates and their families for the answer to the question: How did LAEDA impact you?”

After Ms. Gonzalez speech, Raymond Lamboy, came back to stage to share that “We [LAEDA] are always thinking of helping our EDTP students and graduates and helping them to reach the next steps.” A way to help students is to use other services, such as SCORE, a valuable organization that has a strong partnership with LAEDA. Sandra Coleman, representing SCORE, shared that “SCORE has a wealth of knowledge and free mentorship. We are all here for you. Reach us for help; we mentor every facet of opening up a business and every business as well.”

“Timing is everything to opening up a business; people need services and opportunities,” Frank Moran City of Camden Council President describes. “The key word here is opportunity. There is no other agency like LAEDA in the state, which can help us more; therefore, we need to stand committed to LAEDA’s vision for the help, support, and opportunities.”

Prior to the EDTP graduates coming on stage to get their certificate of completion and LAEDA's pin, Gabriela Santoferraro, EDTP Program Manager, recognized and showed the appreciation LAEDA has to the instructors who volunteer their time to teach the EDTP students classes. These instructors are really valuable and support LAEDA’s vision to empower LAEDA's student entrepreneurs to succeed. Jamila Powell, Assistant Program Manager congratulated LAEDA’s EDTP graduates and also spoke to the LAEDA instructors for their time and help. “Thank you to all of our instructors, they have embraced me and I thank all of you for your dedicated time and service. We truly appreciate you guys. I am so proud of our EDTP graduates and for all of their hard work.”

Before of presenting the students with their certificates of completion, the representatives for each graduating class, went on stage to give a short speech on behalf of their respective class. Stacey Lloyd, representative of Class 73, shared on behalf of the Fall Session that, “When we say words into the microphone we must take what we are saying with responsibility and being accurate with our words. I want to thank Raymond for his vision and believing in all of our EDTP classes and in helping us reach our goals.” . “We did not take long to build relationships and friendships when in our EDTP class. This is the most beneficial program; there are professionals who teach with desire and volunteer time to teach us to build and open up our small business. Raymond, thank you for your vision and for believing that small businesses have a purpose.”

“Small businesses need a community of like-minded people where they can get the help, support, and motivation that they need,” Rosemari Hicks, session representative of the Winter 2016 Class 74 explains. “I got lost when Raymond asked me what my pitch and vision is. A pitch looks easy until you actually have to do it. EDTP and LAEDA inspired all of us and we all helped each other. Thereupon, because of LAEDA we were all able to come together and share our passion and bring it to light.”

“LAEDA provided us with opportunities and resources to empower ourselves and our lives. I had an idea, but did not know how to turn it into a business and that is where LAEDA comes into the picture and helped me with what I needed for my dream list,” Christopher Hampton, session representative of the Spring 2016 Class 75 states. “You need to understand your dream, fight for it, and need people to stretch you. LAEDA reached out to me and helped me network. EDTP encouraged me to not give up on my dream and LAEDA did not give up on me; they were always giving me ways, the power to recognize opportunities, and make my dream list come true.” 

The certificates and Alumni pin were presented by Annabel Soto. Mrs. Soto, Administrative Assistant and dedicated part of the LAEDA Team, called each student up on the stage. 

After all the graduates received their certificate and alumni pin, Ray gave closing remarks by advising the graduating class that “Networking out and up is key to success and education does not stop here. Take advantage of various resources and attend seminars to continue and build upon your education.”

The graduates and friends, along with the rest of the attendees, had the opportunity to start their networking by celebrating with a reception. 

We want to share this moment by inviting you to see our picture slideshow. You can also go to our Facebook Page @LaedaSocial