Monday, February 27, 2017

Meet Connell of Connell Smiles

Connell Green has been with the Helius Foundation for about seven months. His business, Connell Smiles, is a growing cookie company here in Durham, NC. Connell talks a little about what brought him to Helius:
“I had a bad accident about a few years ago. A support beam fell over my head; in the next years, I had to learn how to talk again, I underwent speech therapy, I had to learn alphabets and numbers all over again. It was a very hard time. But it was in this time that I asked God to help heal me, I asked Him to help me find my calling. One day, I had a vision; I saw a pair of golden hands, and I wondered what that meant. Later on, something else happened to me. I started to hear different types of baking ingredients whispered into my ear. Then it dawned upon me- God was telling me that my gift was to use my hands. I was still recovering physically when I started to knead dough. I would spend hours kneading dough, and then I started to notice that it was giving strength back to my arms and shoulders. I started kneading dough every day and after a while thought “Hey I better make something out of it,” so I made cookies, delicious cookies. Soon I started to give them away to people, and soon after I started selling them. This whole process was really a way that God healed me from the inside out. 

It’s been years now. And I still love making cookies; every time I bake, a part of me becomes energised. That’s my love, cookies are my babies. I see cookies as a tool to get people to relax. You know, have a cookie and some coffee, have a good time, relax for a moment, see what’s in you, see what’s around you. I hope to sell my cookies at even more stores, perhaps a couple of franchises way into the future. Helius has been great in helping me reach my goals. I joined about 7-8 months ago, and really I learned that the best teacher you can ever get is the one that can be honest with you, tells you when you haven’t pulled up to your standards, and lets you harness your strengths. Geraud from Helius has been this teacher to me. And now he’s connected me with Duke students who are helping me refine my business ideas and targets. I’m really thankful. "
We're thankful to be working with such an amazing and driven individual. And it is great seeing him working with so many others. We have no doubt that Connell Smiles will be bringing smiles to everyone throughout the Triangle very soon!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Meet Ayubi of Afrokat

Meet one of our entrepreneurs, Ayubi who owns Afrokat, a business that refurbishes and designs shoes. Only 14 years old, his passion and ambition inspires us!

“Ever since I was as young as 10 years old, I was an artist. Growing up, I wasn’t that big of a talker, but art and design have always been an outlet for me to express myself. In the summer of 2015, I took my passion for art to another level; I began to refurbish and design shoes. Each shoe pair takes about 10 hours to make; it’s hard work, but I really enjoy it. I draw inspiration from my surroundings when I design my shoes. You see this shoe here? I saw a rose one day, and I thought, hey this could look sweet on a shoe. For some of my buyers, I discuss with them my design ideas and customise the shoes to their liking. My dream is to grow Afrokat as a business to show other youth that they should just go after their ideas and not hesitate, even if they’re young. With personal drive and support from amazing networks, it’s really possible to take your idea further. For me, it was great when Helius gave me my own space to make shoes here in ReCity, and I’ve had the chance to discuss my business goals and plans to further grow my business with them too. I am really excited to see where this will go!” 

We are certain this young artist is bound for success and are so excited to help him build upon the Afrokat brand. Get ready to discover your new, favorite shoes!