Welcome to our Spark! Meet the Founder series, where we introduce you to the amazing entrepreneurs who are participating in our 2022 Spring Spark! program with a quick Q&A!
Spark! is a small business accelerator that puts the right people, opportunities, and access in place for local entrepreneurs in Arkansas to take their venture to the next level.
Please meet Taliah Ragland, founder of Aspiring Medical Training Institute, a healthcare training site that offers certificates in certified nursing assistance, phlebotomy, and CPR.
The Venture Center: Tell us about your business!
Taliah Ragland: Aspiring Medical Training Institute is a healthcare training site that offers certificates in the following: certified nursing assistance, phlebotomy, and CPR. We strive to help eager and compassionate individuals enter the healthcare field. We offer flexible times, small classes, hybrid classes, resume building skills, and career workshops to help assist the students become successful.
Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?
As an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APN), I’ve seen firsthand the intense burnout healthcare workers are experiencing. Part of the problem is the lack of supporting staff. As my grandmothers, family members and others are living much longer, it’s important to me to have caring, knowledgeable, and hardworking individuals caring for my loved ones when the time comes.
I chose to become an entrepreneur because I, too, experienced burnout out after working in the midst of Covid-19 for more than 2 years. I wanted a break from the day-to-day operations of the hospital. I also wanted to see more diversity in the owners of healthcare training sites. I want my community to see others such as myself in healthcare reaching back to help others grow.
What are your biggest challenges as a business owner?
The biggest challenges for me are marketing, staying consistent, and start-up costs. My co-owner and I have been self-funded since the beginning phases. I didn’t’ realize that there were so many steps in starting a business, and that we would run into so many challenges. From licensing, building inspections, supplies, etc.
What do you hope for the future of your business?
I hope that Aspiring Medical Training Institute can partner with local hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. I want to provide the community with career training and job placement upon graduation, and I’d love to provide grant opportunities and scholarships to high school seniors who want to attend this program. Eventually I’d like to offer a second location in my hometown of Camden, Arkansas.
What are you proudest of so far?
I’m proud that I have chosen not to give up. Every day I wake up and put many hours into my business. I’m always seeking to attend classes or enrolling in programs to gain a better understanding of entrepreneurship so that I can be successful.
What do you hope to gain from Spark?
I hope that I leave with a surplus of entrepreneurial tools I need to help me succeed and make it past the first 5 years of operations. Also, I hope to gain wonderful networking relationships with seasoned entrepreneurs and others.
Huge thanks to Taliah Ragland for participating in Spark! We can’t wait to see your business grow!
You can support our Spring Spark! Cohort of entrepreneurs by cheering them on at the Spring Pitch ‘N Pint pitch contest June 23rd – first round is on us!