Empowering People
& Revitalizing the Community

Celebrating Entrepreneurship at LAEDA's Annual Graduation for the Class of 2021

Posted on 11/1/2021 by EDTP Coordinator in LAEDA News

Camden, NJ- Thursday, October 21, 2021- The Latin American Economic Development Program Association, Inc. (LAEDA) celebrated their annual graduation ceremony for the Entrepreneurial Development Training Program and The Women’s Business Academy. The graduation was held at The Salvation Army Kroc Community Center in Camden, NJ. The graduating classes included the sessions from Fall 2020, Winter 2021 and Spring 2021.

In the welcoming remarks, Raymond L. Lamboy, President & CEO of LAEDA began by highlighting events over the past year, “People cared for their families, worked through Zoom, and saved their businesses. Many re-invented themselves by being innovative and creative, especially when the times got tough,” Lamboy stated. “Through it all, we worked to build ladders of opportunities for entrepreneurs to create wealth no matter which stage or step you are at,” he continued. 

Next, Ray thanked LAEDA, Inc. Professionals, Board Members, Faculty, Supporters (Corporate and Public partners) and Individual donors for giving graduates the needed opportunity and resources to showcase their talents and successfully run their business(es). Josue Castro, LAEDA’s board member, echoed this sentiment by stating that “learning everything from A to Z in the business world is vital.” He continued by offering his congratulations and words of encouragement. "I have no doubt that you will achieve in your goals and being business owners because all of you already took the incentive to start,” Castro expressed.

After, Jamila Powell, Women’s Business Center Program Manager introduced the class representatives for each session. “I love these moments of presenting class reps because it speaks to the comradery that you have built over nine weeks and doing it all on Zoom. This year was really different and challenging because each one of you did everything through zoom because of the pandemic,” describes Powell. 

The class representatives are selected based on their personality, professionalism, and public speaking abilities. The class representatives for 2021 were Tene Akin of Eternal Sunshine Sales (Online Clothing) for Session 88, April Ward of Fruition Life Media (Multimedia Services) for session 89, and Melanie Warren of Veterans Security & Design LLC. (Commercial Security Systems) for session 90. Below, are excerpts from their graduation speeches:


  • Tene Aiken - “ LAEDA helped us thrive in our businesses and here we are tonight graduating through this pandemic and doing everything virtually, some of us meeting in person for the first time. LAEDA offers a great program, the instructors help us with our business plans, guiding us, helping us and keeping us on track."


  • April Ward - “LAEDA is designed to teach us the fundamentals of running a business and becoming a better entrepreneur.  It was a great program with diverse businesses to network with and resources of all kinds to help you navigate your business from potential pitfalls. LAEDA supports, educates and helps with all GAPS in an entrepreneurs/ business owners life- LAEDA is a great resource.


  • Melanie Warren - “I learned it was okay to have fears and share it because the fear is what helped me to keep questioning, keep going, and keep working hard. Even with those fears, I am now sitting down with other business with great confidence knowing I can bring something to the table- thank you to LAEDA for always inspiring us.”

Then, Sophie Werner, LAEDA’s Business Services Center Program Manager expressed her gratitude for all the instructors of the nine-week program. “Thank you so much to all of our instructors for everything you do for us and the students... The resources and knowledge you offer is unmatched. You are dear to no only LAEDA’s hearts but also it’s students' hearts and we appreciate all you do.” Sophie added, "We want to now recognize that one instructor who students felt made the most impact throughout their time in the program by giving her the honor of Instructor of the Year. This year's award goes to Marketing Instructor, Trina Allen!" 

Later, Raymond Lamboy talked about the LAEDA pins explaining how they represent the shared experiences during the program and becoming a part of the LAEDA family. He also introduced Annabel L. Soto who not only gave graduates received certificates and commendations but only offered words of encouragement, "You guys made it and achieved so much, especially through this difficult time. When you are feeling down and need a hand call us and we will help you. LAEDA is here for you as much as you want.”

The night concluded with a special presentation from Citizens Bank, applause from the audience and picture taking to capture these valuable moments. 

The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program and Women's Business Center have graduated 1,162 students, creation of 631 businesses and created 1357 jobs in the city of Camden and throughout South Jersey. LAEDA has been empowering people and revitalizing the community to start and grow businesses in Camden, Burlington, Gloucester, Atlantic and Cumberland Counties in New Jersey. If you are ready to become an entrepreneur and or business owner, Call LAEDA at (856) 338-1177 or visit us on the Web at: www.LAEDA.com for more information and to help you get started and going on your entrepreneurial journey.