With the opening of our annual pitch competition RISE: The Challenge (formerly known as The Start Something Challenge) now open, we caught up with one of last year’s champions, Erica Cannedy, owner of Embracing Change Counseling Services, LLC. Last year, Erica took home the $5,000 Health sector prize and the Community Choice Award and since then her business has grown.
Why did you start your business? What was your passion?
I started my business as I have a strong drive toward mental wellness and wanted to work on trying to provide mental health care for young adults to assist in managing symptoms of depression, anxiety and life changes. My passion is working with adolescents and young adults to provide support and help them with developing positive autonomy and self-advocacy skills.
Where is your business now? Any new updates?
My business is growing slowly. I am looking to expand my practice by bringing on two other clinicians within the year. I am also working on getting paneled with more insurance companies so that I can provide support to a larger number of individuals as I know the out of pocket expense can be daunting for many.
How has the Start Something Challenge (Now RISE) helped your business? (What did you learn? How did you use the grant?)
It has helped me with learning a few steps in advertising my business and ways I can convey my passion to others. I used the grant to help with setting up my website, which I am currently editing and hope to have published in the near future. I also plan to use it to secure a second location in the coming months.
What was your most memorable experience from the Start Something Challenge?
My most memorable experience was speaking about my business. I was very nervous and anxious about presenting; however, once I was able to start talking about my business, my passion I felt more confident and capable. It was an experience I will always remember.
Would you encourage other entrepreneurs to participate? Why?
Absolutely. For me, this competition helped push me out of my comfort zone and really allowed me to propel myself and my business forward. The opportunities and connections that can be made through the RISE challenge will benefit any entrepreneur willing to put in the time and effort.