By Asia Nail
The Truth Reporter
In the medley of Toledo’s transformation, Vince Evans is weaving a vibrant thread with the inauguration of The Entrepreneurs Club. This entrepreneurial haven, more than just a rental hall, stands as a beacon of community empowerment.
“I’m a born and bred proud Toledoan,” says Evans.
“I’ve been a successful entrepreneur myself for many years renovating private real estate. Over the years I realized how much easier running a business is when you have a supportive network.”
Through strategic partnerships and innovative solutions, Evans and the members of The Entrepreneurs Club navigate the complex terrain of business ownership, transforming aspirations into tangible keys capable of unlocking the doors of stability.
Nestled in the heart of East Toledo, The Entrepreneurs Club unfolds as a 5,000 sq ft. complex, located at 222 Fassett Street, and is meticulously curated by Vince Evans. Beyond the brick-and-mortar, it’s a dynamic space where connections with downtown corporate, nonprofit, and self-employed professionals intertwine.
Step inside this thriving hub, where the air crackles with entrepreneurial spirit. Here the Entrepreneurs Toastmasters Club echoes with the power of words, and The Black Wall Street Summit paints a bright canvas of community development. Poetry Nights, Chicago-style steppin’ classes, and the buzzing energy of pop-up shops all converge under the same roof.
Over the summer, this vibrant space opened its doors, offering two-hour windows for nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs, freelancers, consultants, and instructors alike, to shine.
With a capacity for 200 attendees and hosting both free and paid events, The Entrepreneurs Club becomes a canvas for a myriad of occasions. Birthdays, graduations, retirements, corporate events, funeral repasses, baby showers, weddings—the list unfolds with limitless possibilities. The facility, renovated in 2020, boasts a full wet bar, multiple televisions, a projector screen, and blue tooth sound systems, creating an ambiance that transcends the ordinary.
More than a venue, The Entrepreneurs Club is a living testament to entrepreneurs who dare to dream. Whether you seek to network, socialize, or host a special event, this space is a magnet for those who crave a mature environment where ideas flourish and businesses thrive.
“Our vision is to be a helping-hand-network of businesses and entrepreneurs that support each other’s growth,” says Evans.
With an unwavering commitment to addressing the economic imbalances between Black families and the majority community, this club stands as a symbol of resilience and progress.
“We are an inclusive club and all are welcome. Still, our mission is to empower Black businesses, specifically,” explains Evans.
Each business success story or lucrative event is a testament to the resilience of a community determined to transcend the confines of history. In the midst of Toledo’s transformation, The Entrepreneurs Club stands as a chronicle of progress, a testament to the belief that through entrepreneurship, one can not only build businesses but also dismantle the financial barriers perpetuating inequality.
“We support many different business initiatives in the city,” shares Evans. “Through mentorship programs and financial literacy workshops, we empower entrepreneurs with the tools to navigate the challenges of business ownership.”
Within the walls of The Entrepreneurs Club, there’s more than meets the eye. It houses an Outreach Program for adults, a testament to Evans’ commitment to holistic community development.
And there’s more—a Youth Empowerment Program that echoes with the laughter and determination of young dreamers. The Entrepreneurs Club unfolds its arms to embrace the next generation, offering more than just guidance. Picture a boxing gym, a space where the vigor of youth meets the discipline of the ring, sculpting not just bodies but also futures.
Within this club’s dynamic walls free boxing is offered for kids aged five-18 emerging as a sanctuary for not just fitness but also mental well-being. In the ring, children don’t just throw punches; they confront challenges head-on, fostering a sense of discipline that extends far beyond the boxing gloves.
“They’re not just learning the art of boxing; they’re crafting a resilient mindset,” says Evans.
The rhythmic dance of footwork becomes a metaphor for life’s ebbs and flows, instilling local youth with mental agility, discipline and self-confidence. “The ring helps the kids deal with their anxieties and worries, too,” he says.
Evans’ mission of giving back to his community is evident not only in what he is doing to assist other businesses or the area’s youth, but also in what his east side complex offers for those who need a helping hand. Within the connected buildings sits a rooming house that Evans has renovated and offers to those who need a temporary place to stay – nine units for women and children and four on the other side for men.
“I don’t get any funding for this, I do it out of my own pocket,” he says. And out of his own heart undoubtedly. He doesn’t have any set requirements for those whom he feels have a need for such housing. He meets with them and, if they need help, he is there to offer it. He will also work with the residents in their search for jobs and permanent housing as they try to improve their situations.
The Entrepreneurs Club, a hub of empowerment, extends beyond the tangible, becoming a testament to the transformative power of investing in the mental health and well-being of the community’s future.
Beyond the glitz of events, the club’s programming is quickly becoming the pulse of connection, reaching out to bridge the gaps that conventional avenues may overlook.
Like a symphony of ambition, The Entrepreneurs Club orchestrates its mission, recognizing that increasing minority businesses are the linchpins to dismantling the barriers that hinder prosperity for underserved communities.
Evans is offering the Club to Black-owned start-up businesses or Black-owned business organizations free availability to the Club in their efforts to develop and grow enterprises.
“I offer two-hour time slots to use the facility for any type of customer appreciation, for any type of seminars that are trying to get someone to understand their [Black-owned] business,” he says. “Or if they want to hold poetry events or art events … strictly for us … the Black business owners.”
Toledo, often overshadowed by larger urban landscapes, now boasts a collective of visionaries determined to reshape the narrative. In Vince Evans’ creation, The Entrepreneurs Club isn’t just a structure; it’s a living entity, pulsating with the rhythm of community growth. Here, the clinking glasses and the echoes of mentorship reverberate together, crafting a narrative where entrepreneurship is not just a business venture but a force that transforms lives.
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