A Strong Tradition of Entrepreneurship

07/08/2010 06:29 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Jim Gibbons President and CEO, Goodwill Industries International

During the recession and the stagnant job market, the number of Americans starting their own businesses has risen. There is a strong tradition of entrepreneurship in this country and, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, that tradition is only getting stronger. In 2009, entrepreneurship in America reached its highest levels in 14 years: 340 out of 100,000 adults started a small business last year. Daisy Latimore is one of these entrepreneurs, but her journey started ten years ago.

For the third time in her life, Daisy was laid off from a large corporation in 2000. Instead of looking at the negatives of her situation, she decided it was the best time to start her own business. She had been making gift baskets as a hobby for some time and, with the help of the Business NOW program at Goodwill Industries of North Georgia (Atlanta), she learned how to turn her hobby into a business plan. Using what she learned at Goodwill, Daisy's Unique Chocolates and Confections was born.

After her business was up and running, Daisy wanted to give back to her community in some way. Some of her initiatives include giving free gifts to students who show her their straight-A report cards and giving coupons to great teachers to show her appreciation for their work. Because Daisy's Unique Chocolates and Confections is doing so well, she decided to complete another Goodwill program called MicroMAX, which taught her how to create jobs, hire employees and do even more for her community.

"Goodwill has been with me through the ups and downs," said Daisy. "I got sick, and I had to go get a part-time job. They understand that life really happens and they encourage you through the whole thing."

It is part of Goodwill's mission to help people build their careers and strengthen their communities. To see what your local Goodwill has to offer, visit and take that next step, like Daisy did.