Slutty Vegan founder Aisha “Pinky” Cole is paying it forward to help other aspiring Black business owners with the tools they need to launch and scale profitable companies. On May 14, the bustling restaurateur paid a visit to her alma mater Clark Atlanta University, where she gave an inspiring commencement speech to the graduating class of 2022. Students were sent into a frenzy of excitement when she announced that she would be gifting each and every last graduate with an LLC.
“Every single graduate in this audience will leave this stadium as a business owner,” said the successful entrepreneur as the class of 2022 cheered in unison. An LLC, which stands for limited liability company, is a type of business entity that can protect the personal assets of a business owner from lawsuits or debt incurred by the company.
Cole, who graduated from Clark Atlanta in 2009, partnered with Varo Bank to provide the students with a “path to entrepreneurship.” With soaring inflation and fears of a potential recession ahead, the class of 2022 will need to think of ways to launch their own businesses and bring innovation to the market.
During her commencement speech, Cole told the sea of graduates that she’s learned from a fair share of difficulties and failures since graduation. After struggling to find work, Cole found a teaching job in Houston and relocated, but it didn’t last long.
“All it took was five days for me to realize I was not cut out to be a classroom teacher,” she said, noting how she didn’t even have enough money to afford a plane ticket back home, but the disappointing moment gave her enough fuel to find her passion.
“Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because 13 years later, that same broken and broke little girl now owns and operates not one, but two multimillion-dollar businesses in the middle of a pandemic,” Cole told the graduating class, urging them to fail as many times as possible to find inspiration.
“I want you to fail so hard you become an expert in failure and you get a Ph.D. in philology,” she continued.
“I want you to fail because failing is not failing at all – it is finding aspiration in the losses. I know it may sound funny… but here’s the truth. You don’t know what you’re made of until it’s been battle-tested and proven. You don’t know how much grit and tenacity you have until your back is up against the wall. You don’t know how much hustle you have until you are hungry.”
Cole’s huge gift to the class of 2022 cost more than $400,000 according to 11Alive, but now students will be one step closer to fulfilling their dreams of entrepreneurship.