ABOUT PATH

COMMUNITY & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP

PROGRAM METHODS

PATH uses a three-stage process to address clients' personal, social, professional, and tangible needs

STAGE 1 - CONSULTING

PATH program managers meet with potential clients and determine which individuals are the best fit for the program based on a variety of interpersonal and business characteristics. 

Individuals that are a good fit are invited to join the program, those that are not a good fit at the time are introduced to other service providers that may be able to help address specific needs or situations outside the scope of the PATH program.

Clients work with PATH staff to complete a personalized intake process and identify the client's skills, strengths, opportunities to improve, and existing or potential barriers to sustainable success.

Intake results are scored and ranked into twenty areas of business and interpersonal proficiency.   

Primary & secondary goals are set that reinforce strengths, address areas of weakness, and find or create support structures for future growth.

Clients are given access to and training with online planning and entrepreneurial education tools. 

STAGE 2  - MENTORSHIP

Clients are paired with community guides who serve as mentors, accountability partners, educators, encouragers, and a pathway to community resources. 

For three to six months guides regularly meet with clients to support their progress towards attaining goals, developing skills, and removing barriers to growing their business.

Clients continue to have access to PATH staff and curriculum tools to work on skill and plan development.  

Once a client has achieved their primary goals and has a viable operations & financial plan developed, a financial needs assessment is done to determine if funds are needed to launch or grow their business without adding unnecessary debt. 

If additional funds are needed referrals or recommendations to lenders or investors with appropriate programs are made available to the client. 

Client progress & business proficiency are re-evaluated periodically or at client request and ongoing skill development needs are identified.

Clients have access to general and specialized consulting as needed to further prepare them to launch and grow their business.

If previously unqualified for funding, PATH staff & consultants work with clients to help increase 'bankability' and prepare them for lending or investment.

Once a client's business is launched PATH staff get them plugged in to relevant community events and help them develop more visibility for their business and grow their professional network. 

New and additional community resources are introduced as they become available or needed.

STAGE 3 - SUPPORT

Clients that are operating their businesses but still need support will have the option of utilizing PATH facilities & equipment, such as commercial kitchen or office space & equipment, at a subsidized rate according to the strength of their business. 

Clients who utilize PATH facilities & equipment provide regular financial & operational updates to PATH staff, including access to financial records & documents.

Clients continue to have access to general and specialized consulting as needed and as scheduling allows but the focus is more on system building and adding efficiency instead of planning & skill building.

As client businesses grow and succeed they are encouraged & expected to take part in community development or revitalization efforts for the community their business operates in.

As appropriate, successful alumni of stages 1 & 2 are invited to speak with and encourage new PATH clients and share their experiences with the program.

WHY ENTREPRENEURSHIP?

Many reasons:

 

  • People will usually work harder for themselves than anyone else.

  • Financial success can be obtained through hard work and specialized knowledge or a specific skill, even in the presence of education or language barriers.

  • The education required to succeed as a self employed person can be obtained on the job or through programs like PATH.

  • There are fewer barriers for individuals with situations such as prior incarceration or immigrant status.

  • Business ownership provides social capital that helps change peoples expectations of themselves and how they relate to their community.

  • Business owners are more likely to be home owners.

 

  • People that own a business in a neighborhood are more likely to live and invest in that neighborhood. 

By developing an entrepreneurial core within a neighborhood we can impact nearly every facet of that environment and can bring about positive change in a shorter time with less spending than almost any other type of work. 

 

We aim to see thousands of lives improved over the next decade in our target neighborhoods.  To do this, we focus on directly helping a limited number of  clients at a time whose businesses will inspire, employ, and do business with hundreds of other people in the neighborhood.  Each business strengthens at least one family and the community as a whole a little bit more.  It doesn't happen overnight, but it works and it changes lives long term.

THE PATH TEAM

Braden Clark

Brady is the executive director of Square Mile Community Development and the originator of the PATH program.  Brady has spent 20+ years in the non-profit sector running programs & organizations meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of disadvantaged or marginalized  communities across Texas and internationally.  Brady is a pastor, a farmer, a visionary, a non-profit entrepreneur and great guy to hang out with.  Brady is instrumental in all stages of the PATH program and provides oversight to make sure the program lines up with Square Mile's strategic objectives.  Brady is married with 3 children at home.

Donna Dorman Madison

Donna is a program coordinator for Square Mile and heads up the social / interpersonal portion of the PATH program.  She is pursuing her masters degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on cross-cultural studies and charitable financial planning.  Donna has a background that includes positions as an associate pastor and missionary / teacher in South America & Africa.  Donna is a passionate advocate for female entrepreneurs and plays a key role in helping PATH clients be willing to try something new to improve their lives and their chances for a brighter future.  Donna is married with three children at home. 

Tracy Shea

Tracy is the Entrepreneur in Residence for the PATH program and project manager for Square Mile heading up the curriculum development and business instruction portion of the PATH program.  Tracy is an experienced small business consultant and mentor whose  interests and experiences compliment Square Miles's programs.  His background includes positions as project manager in the technology, manufacturing and higher education industries as well as entrepreneurial ventures.  Tracy is passionate about seeing people overcome their circumstances and win at life and in business.  He believes entrepreneurship is the best way to create lasting financial change for your family and one of the best things you can teach your children.  Tracy is married with three adult children.