Build it and they will come

As college students prepare for graduation, they sort, pack, toss and plan. After finding that perfect outfit to walk the big stage, they ponder. Young and new professionals are emerging into the workplace. Finding a job or a career is the number one priority.

The reality of life — bills — are about to hit them. The last thing they want to do is move back home — unless their home town has what they need to jumpstart their ambition.

Small cities, like the City of Manassas, is a good place to begin the next chapter.

As I sit in a Richmond Airbnb preparing for this day — the day that Laura, my youngest daughter graduates from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) — I realize the lure for young folks to work in a city.

Walkability,  resources, access to transportation and an enriched lifestyle are important to this generation.

Last night students and parents heard from the DaVinci Center educators at VCU Innovate — a think tank for selected creative-minded and ambitious students.  Speakers talked about entrepreneurship,  leadership, product development and venture creation. Students were presented with their DaVinci Center program stoles for the graduation ceremony today.

These students are pumped up because the world is their oyster to create their own destiny. Now that the wheels are turning and their chests are puffed out to enter their future, they need to build relationships, capital and keep expenses at a minimum.

Even though the fuel to boost ideas were injected into these students, the not-so-fun facts still have to be taught. As a business owner, I have been holding my daughter’s hand through the maze of entrepreneurship since she could drive. She worked for me — actually all six of my daughters have — so she has an advantage. Not all young professionals have this background.  But an incubator, shared space, can offer them a chance.

Building a place like Centerfuse, Historic Manassas, is a good start. It is important to include speakers, programs, and opportunities for anyone trying to make it on their own.

An incubator, a start-up generator, can’t be just a place to share space, it must be a place to take ideas and shape them into reality.

New professionals are looking for current, trending news and presentations on business plans and practices, communication tools, technology, marketing strategies, networking, accounting principles, human relations and most importantly, funding and investing opportunities.

Many new professionals work in coffee shops or in make-shift locations, but adding a surrounding with like-minded people and stimulating resources can only be a plus.

Providing opportunities and a business-friendly attitude is a good foundation for growth in the City of Manassas. As a George Mason Community Speaker on entrepreneurship, a business owner and community volunteer, I have mentored and guided many people to a career path.

Now that Centerfuse is a reality, I look forward to their success in encouraging new professionals to thrive in our own community.