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Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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GoDaddy’s Empower program creating young entrepreneurs


Launched in 2017, the social impact program provides training, tools, and peer networks to entrepreneurs in underserved communities.

GoDaddy’s Empower program creating young entrepreneurs
Tyron and April Harper, Baltimore residents and Empower by GoDaddy graduates, are the founders of Harp Vision, a wellness brand that creates all-natural products to help relieve pain and improve quality of life. The Harpers hope to make a better life for themselves and their two sons, Phoenix (age 6) and Kaden (age 6), by launching their business (age 16). However, while most small businesses struggle to get started, the Harpers face an additional challenge: chronic pain.

“We both live with chronic pain. I have endometriosis, and Tyron has fibromyalgia,” said April. “We wake up every day, pray, and get to work because we have to.”

“I learned that my mother lived with chronic pain, and her mother had it, and her mother’s mother had it. Now we need to make sure we can do something about it so we can break that generational curse,” said Tyron. “My body’s killing me, but there’s still work to be done.”

Tyron had fibromyalgia as well as COVID-19 when the disease was new and fatal for so many people. He was very sick, and despite beating COVID-19, he continued to have health problems. Tyron made the decision to live life to the fullest. He began eating healthier and caring for his body, which enabled him to lose 100 pounds. "It was as if COVID was holding up a mirror to me," he said.

Tyron also left his teaching job at Baltimore City Public Schools, and he and April decided to create products to help people "pour back into themselves." The Harpers handcraft and sell premium body scrubs, aromatherapy candles, bath teas, and all-natural soaps in their home. They began by selling the products at local farmer's markets and pop-ups, hoping to reach as many people as possible. However, starting a business, being a parent, and working around the clock all had their challenges and limitations.

April worked two jobs, both full- and part-time, seven days a week, in addition to her hours at Harp Vision, while Tyron focused solely on the kids and their fledgling business. Simultaneously, she enrolled in college to pursue a bachelor's degree in business. April was cramming schoolwork into any spare time she could find. Not only were the Harpers working long hours to create products and fuel their business's success, but they were also suffering from chronic physical pain.

It is estimated that 20% of American adults suffer from chronic pain, costing the country approximately $560 billion in health-care costs each year. Aside from chronic pain, nearly 20% of American adults suffer from mental health disorders.

Empower by GoDaddy, launched in 2017, is GoDaddy's global social impact program that provides training, tools, and peer networks to entrepreneurs in underserved communities to help them accelerate their journeys. Empower by GoDaddy works with nonprofit partners around the world to understand local communities and the small business landscape in order to identify gaps and develop customized, neighborhood-based program.

The Harpers applied when Empower by GoDaddy expanded to Baltimore in early 2022. The 8-week program collaborates with the local organization Impact Hub to provide entrepreneurs with tools, resources, and training to improve their digital presence. The program confirmed for the Harpers that online sales could help their business become more sustainable, reach more people, and reduce the number of in-person events required to grow.

“I feel like our customers come to us because we meet them where they are and speak their language,” April said. “Shortly after our GoDaddy website went live, we got a message on social media from someone who had bought our product from a pop-up asking how she could get more. I quickly directed her to our website. Within a minute, she bought it from us. It feels amazing to convert a conversation into a sale.”

April resigned from her part-time job in May 2022 to focus on growing Harp Vision.

 “I worked hard for other people for a long time pushing their dream and their vision and now it’s time to just push my own families’ dream,” April added. “It’s not selfish to give myself energy for my kids. It’s not selfish to give myself energy and pour it back into myself.”

This summer, Harp Vision applied to be a kiosk vendor at Lexington Market, the country's oldest continuously operating public market—a 240-year home for small businesses and a community staple offering fresh foods and locally-made goods.

“We recognize many people in the inner city may not have the time or resources to participate in self-care rituals. A shift to community care is necessary. Our goal by joining Lexington Market is to build a community that prioritizes health and wellbeing,” said Tyron. “We’re not only selling a product. We’re helping people change their lives. You can’t help your family if you can’t help yourself.”

World Mental Health Day was observed earlier this month, and the Harpers want to remind Americans that self-care is not selfish. This is the time to make everyone's mental and physical health a global priority.

“It is as simple as doing something big or small for yourself each day. You can’t pour from an empty cup,” said April. “That could be lighting a candle and simply being still for 15 minutes or taking an aromatherapy bath at the end of the day. We all deserve to feel well.”

Season four of Made in America, a GoDaddy YouTube docuseries featuring small businesses participating in the Empower by GoDaddy program, features April and Tyron. Made in America's purpose is to further GoDaddy's mission of fostering opportunity for all by showcasing the stories of everyday entrepreneurs, with an intentional focus on the disparity in opportunities and access to resources for underserved communities. The fourth season tells the inspiring stories of Baltimore entrepreneurs who have overcome adversity.