Launcher Entrepreneurship Program Updates

March 23, 2023
Thank you for your interest in and/or support of our Launcher Entrepreneurship Program. We thought you would enjoy seeing our 2022 Achievements!
Launcher Fall 2022 Graduates (click to enlarge)
A. Wes Davis, CAP®, CFRE
Director of Development
P.S. Stay tuned for our agency-wide newsletter, News From Our House, later this month.
Success In Our House

Yolanda Parson
(a.k.a. The Neighborhood Crab Lady)
Yolanda Parson, one of our recent graduates, is making waves (or rather collecting crabs and shrimp from the waves) through her business, Crab Cravers! Last year, she was recognized by Delaware Today, “These 33 Women in Business Are Industry Leaders in Delaware“, and was also featured on 6ABC in 2021 after opening her food truck during the pandemic. She said, “I began Crab Cravers with a passion of doing something I love. While I had some reservations about starting a business during the pandemic – when numerous restaurants were closing down – I persevered because I knew the love of seafood.”
Outcomes and Stats
Last year, West End offered 11 twelve-week entrepreneurship courses, including three in Spanish. Classes were held in all 3 counties at the following locations: Claymont, Wilmington, Dover and Georgetown. The majority of Launcher participants were low-income, 90% identified as either African-American or Latino, and 60% were female.

Progress to Date – (2017-Present)
Entrepreneurs Trained…………………..….664
Jobs Created/Retained…………..……….. 416
Businesses Stabilized/Expanded*……..232
Loans Approved**………………..……………..68
Total Classes Held.…………………….……….47
*50% of participants completed the program at the end of 2022. We expect their businesses to launch during 2023.
**96% of total loans were made within BIPOC communities. To date, the program has loaned a total of $502,000.
Fall 2022 Graduation Ceremony
Our fall graduation ceremony was held on December 12th at Wilmington University with Lt. Governor, Bethany Hall-Long as Keynote Speaker. The 12-week course included cohorts (two of which were taught in Spanish) held at four different locations.
Click the image on the left to view the event program, and the image below to view the Dream Art Studio photo gallery!
Upcoming Classes
Fall 2023
  • 5/19 – Interviews Begin
  • 7/19 – Application Deadline
  • 8/9 – Interviews Completed
  • 8/28 – 11/16 Weekly Classes
  • 12/13 – Graduation
Spring 2024
  • 9/27/23 – Interviews Begin
  • 11/27/23 – Application Deadline
  • 12/18/23 – Interviews Completed
  • 1/8/24 – 3/21/24 – Weekly Classes
  • 4/15 – Graduation
Do you know someone who could benefit from our Launcher Program? If so, please email Michelle Butrim, Program Manager, or call 302-658-4171 x 183.
2022 Funders & Community Partners
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