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Meet Afenya Montgomery of The iCAN Collective in Southside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Afenya Montgomery.

Afenya, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started The iCAN Collective because I was searching for something in the market that I didn’t see. I’m a nurse, and at the time I was starting a healthcare consulting firm and could not find the resources and information that I needed to create a sustainable business. Towards the end of 2016, I started meeting up with friends and family at coffee shops and cafes to talk about the needs of people of color in entrepreneurship. The idea began to form that it would be great to create a network of people that could act as accountability partners, potential business collaborators and resources for each other. Our first event was a panel discussion in June 2017 titled “Leveraging Your Network to Create Impact,” and we haven’t looked back since.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has not always been smooth but I think that’s a good thing. If you don’t struggle, you don’t learn and that leads to a lack of growth. Every bump in the road has been worth it. Some of the things that I didn’t anticipate were how difficult it is to get people to buy into an idea, how much capital is really required to build a brand and people will support you but not always in the way that you feel you need or want.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The iCAN Collective story. Tell us more about the business.
The iCAN Collective connects diverse entrepreneurs to resources, information and the tools necessary to create, launch and scale a viable business. We are known for what we call, #DOPE events for entrepreneurs. We host workshops, conferences, summits, panel discussions and this year we are starting live masterclasses. We’re different because we are extremely serious about giving people useful information that can be applied practically to their business. There’s not a lot of fluff at our events but we make it fun. There’s always great music, awesome food and networking is a must. We don’t let you sit in a corner to yourself. People come to iCAN events and meet clients, find co-founders and create valuable business partnerships.

We have launched the #GoalGetHer Entrepreneurship Event Series which is focused on paving the way for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to impact their communities through economic growth. November 17, 2018 we will host our annual conference. The conference empowers, inspires and motivates women (and men) to embrace their gifts, conquer goals and create a foundation for building successful businesses. Over the last year, we have hosted over 600 people at our events and connected with over 1,000 people worldwide.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t believe in luck having a huge impact on my life and business. I think God and the actions of the individual combined create the path that our lives take. God has blessed me with the gift of discernment and has put people in my life that have helped to shape my vision into reality. You have to lean largely on your faith, trust God, enjoy the process and keep pushing.

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Image Credit:

Shaun Michael, Mike D., Charli Rai, Dawn Stephens

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