Ken Martin

I went into this event thinking I would be just be taking some photos and cutting out.

When it comes to financing MY business, D.C. has always let me down. Invite me in, run me ragged, make me wait, lull me to sleep and drop me like a hot spud!

So I had no real honest interest going in. On top of that I had to drag my poor 13 year old daughter, Justice, along. I knew I’d have to pay for that one!

Boy, was I in for a rude awakening!

We started with a genuinely cordial welcoming. There was an appetizing spread of treats which soothed the savage 13 year old’s belly. Thank the Finance Gods for that one!

Upon entering the room, I was pleased to see my mentors Markus Larsson and John Kavyavu of Life Asset setup to present their organization. Life Asset “Brings Ideas to Life,” by providing entrepreneurs the training/resources, both business and financial, that are needed to embark on enterprise.

I knew one of them might be there, but seeing both was a great confidence booster for me! Between them and my camera, I was able to project and assert myself well enough to navigate and network.

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Starting with an introduction from D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking Commissioner Stephen Taylor, I met some very interesting and helpful individuals such as:

• Associate Commissioner for Banking Christopher Weaver, who spoke on State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) through which D.C. is allocated Capital for lending;

• Associate Commissioner for Securities Theodore Miles, a most knowledgeable expert on Securities Crowdfunding;

• Senior Special Counsel for the Office of Small Business Policy Julie Davis, in the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission — with whom I sadly missed the opportunity to speak personally, she was quite engaging;

• and other business persons that may empower and enable me to promote my business, from agencies such as Department of Housing and Community

Development, Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, Department of Small and Local Business Development, First National Bank, Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Hive 2.0, a project of ARCH Development Corporation, Industrial Bank and United Bank.

There were even a few prospective clients for Digital Hope, Street Sense’s marketing project.

A major bonus was reuniting with D.C. Department of Small and Local Businesses Development (DSLBD) Staff Assistant Katina Bouldin.

This young lady was there in 2002 when I began planning my hat shop — a tribute to her commitment to business in D.C. and mine to the child (whose nose was understandably buried in her tech devices) accompanying me that was born that year. Miss Bouldin invited me to reconnect with DSLBED because there are many services that may help the local entrepreneur.

Not only did I discover that there are many open and like-minded individuals in both the private and public sectors that agree that entrepreneurship versus employment at minimum wage is a no-brainer to afford housing in the District of Columbia — another of my infamous run-on sentences — we also discussed possibilities of brainstorming a transitional project to move enterprising homeless folk off the streets and into the American Dream!