Memories from the 2020 $1,000 Start-Up Pilot

Thank you to everyone who joined us on the $1,000 Start-Ups journey during the 2020 pilot. Thanks to your support, six local businesses were started, more than 30 area businesses displayed with us at our Small Business Fairs, and The $1,000 Start-Ups Consortium of small businesses those who support them continues to grow.

As we begin to launch the 2021 program, I thought you’d enjoy this photographic chronicle of the the 2020 Protoype Fair and three Small Business Fairs.

The Prototype Fair, July 2020

The First Small Business Fair, August 28, 2020

The Second Small Business Fair, September 19, 2020

The Small Business Holiday Fair, November 21, 2020

Over the winter we’ve been preparing for the 2021 Class that will start Saturday, April 17th. To learn how to enroll or get involved please visit our website:

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant and as the executive director of The $1,000 Start-Ups Consortium, as non-profit whose mission is provide income and reentry opportunities by training, funding, and promoting small businesses. Leah resides in Amelia Island, Florida with her life partner Sam Lane, and their rescue dog, Goliath.

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