$1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair Introduced New Businesses to Fernandina Beach

The graduating class of The $1,000 Start-Ups Consortium’s Entrepreneur and Financial Management Course and Grant Program welcomed area small businesses and area residents to their first Small Business Fair at Macedonia AME Church on Saturday, August 28, 2020.

The purpose of the three small business fairs is to allow the entrepreneurs, who’ve completed the didactic portion of the program and whose businesses and products are ready, to market test their products and services, test their order to cash process, meet and learn from established area small business owners and give back by promoting the importance of small business to a local community.

Leah Ward-Lee of $1,000 Start-Ups

Leah Ward-Lee, author of $1,000 Start-Ups and Managing Director of The $1,000 Start-Ups Consortium, welcomed the Vendors and Visitors to the Small Business Fair.  She brought books published by her company, including her son, Tony Lee’s book, The Bartender’s Guide to Financial Freedom that provided the Financial Management curriculum for the course. 

Chef Xylina at the S1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair

Chef Xylina, owner of Island Personal Chefs brought her hard-working family out.  They worked together to provide the tasty food for the fair. 

Keshia Kimbrough, Integrity Solutions and Demika Jackson of ReinVentU, LLC took time during the fair to network.  Both have businesses have that help other businesses.  Kesha, whose background is marketing. is also a self-published author.  Demika, of ReinVentU, is a veteran whose business helps veteran owned and non-profit businesses prepare for and attract investors and grants. 

Dana Binette of Top Secrets Sweets at the $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair

Dana Binette, a graduate the $1,000 Start-Up program, and Zeke Binette work together in their family business, Top Secret Sweets.   Their Whoopie Pies were a hit at the fair, as were their newly introduced chocolate chip cookies. 

Pastor Daniel, John Carver, Mike Lee, & Francis Mbenna at the $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair

Reverend Anthony Daniel, Pastor of Macedonia AME and Director, The $1,000 Start-Ups Consortium; John Carver, The Helpers; Mike Lee, Honey Do’s by Lee; and Francis Mbenna, career diplomat, who just returned from postings in Afghanistan and Iraq, observed social distancing protocols as they enjoyed catching up at the fair.

McKenna Heibel & Casstian Mote of Each Heart Matters at the $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair

McKenna Heibel and Casstian Mote of Each Heart Matters, the $1,000 Start-Ups Youth Entrepreneur Group, show off their “Heart of the Matter” T-shirts.  Their mission statement says:  “We are on a mission to learn leaderships and collaboration skills through entrepreneurship and peer to peer discussions of socio-economic challenges.” 

Jemesha Moment of Essentially Me and Veronica Jennings of Glory Coverings, LLC

Jamesha Moment of Essentially Me brought her amazing natural beauty products, including her Mango Butter.  She’s shown here talking with Veronica Jennings of Glory Covering, LLC who’ll be at the next Small Business Fair on September 19, 2020.


Kim Murray, Herbabilities telling visitors to the $1,000 Start-Ups Business Fair about her Elderberry Syrup

Kim Murray, a certified Herbalist and Chocolatier, of HerbAbilities sharing her knowledge with two visitors about her Elderberry Syrup.  Her natural peanut butter cups sold out in minutes!

Simone Forest of Hair by Maria Simone at the $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair

Hair by Maria Simone owner, Simone Forest, who does  many of the business owner’s hair, talking with a fair visitor.

Ethesis Scents business owner Tkeyia Williams showing her beautiful defusers to visitors o the $1,000 Start-Ups Business Fair

Esthesis Scents business owner, Tkeyia Williams, showing her wonderfully scented products that come in beautiful diffusers.  My car smells like a tropical breeze!

Amelia Island Microgreens at the $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair at the $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair

Amelia Island Microgreens’ owners Christine and McKenna Hiebel, graduates of the $1,000 Start-Ups program, brought their latest crop of microgreen.  McKenna’s dad, Kurt Heibel, owner of AF Solar, LLC, came along to help.

Nichol Kelly of Nicole Isadora at the $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair

Nicole Kelly of Nicole Isadora modeling her custom eyewear.  Check out that fabulous T-Shirt!

John Carver of The Helpers showing a visitor to the $1,000 Start-Ups Fair Zen Water's Earth Healing Products

John Carver, of The Helper’s, showing a fair visitor, his wife, Zen Waters, Thieve’s Oil and Garden Flowers salve. 

Sabrina Friday of the Friday Mgmt Group

Sabrina Friday of The Friday Management Group brought a wide array of masks with topical themes.  Many of us added at least one to our collections. 

Janet Michea of Amelia Pet Portraits at the $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair

Janet Michea of Amelia Pet Portraits was there with treats to take home to four legged friends.  She uses a pet owner’s favorite picture of a beloved companion to do absolutely gorgeous paintings.

Robyn Nemes of Robyn’s Garden brought her Kanzashi flowers to show at the fair.  They’re hand created, just as the Japanese have made them for hundreds of years.

Serena Floyd of Jewls by Serena at the $1,000 Start-Ups Business Fair

Serena Floyd of Jewels by Serena brought a wide array of Paparazzi jewelry at a fabulously low price!  Most of the ladies at the fair couldn’t resist adding to their current collection.

Sam Lane, $1,000 Start-Up Director at the $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair

Sam Lane, board member of The $1,000 Start-Ups Consortium, was instrumental in setting up and running the Small Business Fair.

Bridging the Gap - Cracking the Code sponsored the $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair

Many thanks to Bridging the Gap – Cracking the Code for their sponsorship of The $1,000 Small Business Program and the Fair. 

The next Small Business Fair will be held September 19th from 10-2 at Macedonia AME Church, 202  S 9th Street.  For additional information email Lwardlee@1000dollarstartups.com.

$1,000 Start-Ups Launch Update

The Prototype Fair

We held the $1,000 Start-Ups’ Prototype Fair last Saturday. The Murray family hosted the inagural class on their beautiful property. (We masked and maintained social distancing guidelines during the event, except during our photoshoot.)

Continue reading “$1,000 Start-Ups Launch Update”

$1,000 Start-Ups – 2020 Launch Update

Where We Started

In April 2020, Leah Ward-Lee, serial entrepreneur and author of $1,000 Start-Ups, and Tony Lee, business owner and author of The Bartender’s Guide to Financial Freedom, were looking for a way to help during the Covid-19 epidemic. They decided to offer Zoom courses and up to a $1,000 business start-up funding to anyone in the local area who successfully completed the course work.

In less than a week, they shared the information with their friends and with the Steering Committee of Breaking the Barriers – Cracking the Codes and scheduled two information sessions.

The Businesses That are Involved

There are twelve businesses participating in the program

  1. A retired educator who was already in the process of launching a business as a Doula. A doula is a trained companion who is not a healthcare professional and who supports another individual through a significant health-related experience, such as childbirth.
  2. A high school senior who is launching a business as a personal trainer.
  3. A social worker who has three children at home, is a certified herbalist and who has developed and is launching a product line.
  4. A mechanical engineer who has studied renewable energy is launching a business installing residential home energy packages.
  5. A young mother is launching a product line of CBD edibles and intends to open a cafe in Colorado.
  6. A retired psychiatric nurse has written and plans to self-publish a book about how to get help for your loved ones.
  7. A young man with fashion sense is launching a business as a model that will lead to a product line.
  8. A father with a young daughter has already launched a commercial cleaning business but has joined the class to network and develop a growth path.
  9. A substitute teacher and mom with two children is a gourmet food producer and is launching a product line that will lead to a food truck.
  10. An experienced entrepreneur is launching a business that will fund the establishment of a local shop that sells both her products and those that are locally produced.
  11. A graphic designer with a web design business is launching a pet portrait business.
  12. An author who works in the service industry and is an owner of a handyman business.

What Has the Class Been Doing?

In the Entrepreneurship Class we’ve:

  1. Developed a Brief Business Description and a Professional Bio
  2. Conducted a Competitive Analysis
  3. Learned about Marketing Tools
  4. Began Developing Our Marketing Plans

In the Financial Management Class we’ve:

  1. Developed an Understanding of How Much We’re Spending Each Month
  2. Set a Goal to Reduce that Spending by 10%
  3. Started Tracking our Progress against our Spending Goal
  4. Developed a Contingency Plan that Included a “Side Hussle” to Increasing Savings and Reduce Debt

What’s Coming Up in June for the $1,000 Start-Ups 2020 Launch

In the Entrepreneurship Class we’ll be:

  • Completing Our Marketing Plans and Learning to Build a Facebook Business Page
  • Learning About Registering Our Businesses and Applying for Licenses
  • Designing Our Prototypes
  • Preparing for Our In-House Prototype Fair

In the Financial Management Class we’ll be:

  • Learning to Tame the Paper Tiger
  • Managing and Prioritizing our “To Do” Lists
  • Establishing a Weekly Business Meeting
  • Raising Our Credit Scores

Follow the $1,000 Start-Ups 2020 Launch

If you’d like to receive updates and information on what the class is doing and how they’re progressing please Join our Email List

Leah Ward-Lee is a management consultant and business writer based on Amelia Island, Florida and the author of $1,000 Start-Ups.

Conduct A Competitive Analysis

Why Every Start-Up Should Conduct a Competitive Analysis

When you’re launching a low-cost business start-up it’s tough not to be overwhelmed by the number of steps required just to get your product to market. Taking the time to conduct a competitive analysis can seem like a waste of time.  

However, you have the advantage of seeing what is working for your competition. Very often you can leverage what they’ve already learned to actually save yourself time. In some cases, studying your competition can help you figure out how to increase the market demand for the product or service.

How To Conduct a Competitive Analysis

Start by identifying the top competitors in your marketspace. Do a simple online search using Google, yellowpages.com, or yelp.com.  Pick five who are successful and review their:

  • Products and Services
  • Physical Location
  • Marketing Approach
  • Prices
  • Customer Experience

For each of your competitors, develop a strategy for how you’ll co-exist in the marketplace. For example your competition has:

  • Both a bricks and mortar location and a huge online presence and you have a small EMAIL list of friends and family. Your mitigation advantage is you don’t have that overhead so you can produce your product less expensively.
  • A mature product set and you have one or two products or services. Focus on marketing those products to a niche market they’re not targeting or improving your services using the feedback of your initial customer base.
  • Can afford to advertise. Offer your initial customers a discount on their next purchase.

Keep YOUR Competitive Advantage

You’re the “New Kid in Town”. It’s important to remember you’re launching a new business and need a successful launch.  Limiting your launch to a manageable set of customers or clients ensures you can successfully deliver your product and have experience with your complete business cycle. It may feel like an extra step, but it mitigates the risk of not being able to deliver your product successfully.

Leah Ward-Lee is a management consultant and business writer based on Amelia Island, Florida and the author $1,000 Start-Ups.


Fernandina Beach Residents Tony Lee and Leah Ward-Lee are offering their courses FREE on Zoom.

If you follow the curriculum and complete both courses, your business start-up will be funded up to $1,000.

Tony, who has been in the service industry for twenty years, wrote The Bartender’s Guide to Financial Freedom: How to Quit Being Broke to teach anyone who works, but is not salaried, how to manage their money and get out of their own way. 

Leah, a business consultant and serial entrepreneur wrote $1,000 Start-Ups:  60 Businesses for Micro-Entrepreneurs … and How to Start Them.

Kindle Editions of each book are available online FREE to members of Kindle Unlimited for less than $5.00 starting April 11th, 2020 for a limited time.

To sign up for the information session on April 18, 2020 at 1:00 PM click this link: