MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — It takes a selfless person to help others reach their dreams. One of those people lives right here in Mobile, Alabama.
Janice Malone started a nonprofit organization to help minority-owned businesses flourish, and she was recently recognized for her selflessness.
Malone is the creator and executive director of Vivian’s Door, a nonprofit created in 2016 that helps minority business owners grow their businesses and reach their full potential. AARP recently named Malone as one of their Purpose Prize winners for her work with the nonprofit.
“One night, I actually had a dream about this thing called Vivian’s Door and the fact that it would open these doors for people,” Malone said. “My husband’s cousin is Vivian Malone Jones, and so it was funny that the dream came, and I thought, ‘Am I really kinda the person to do this?’ So I thought about it for a while before I even really acted on it.”
The Vivian’s Door website states that the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 estimated that minority-owned businesses only accounted for 18.3% of all small businesses. The website also states that in the history of the Fortune 500, there have only been 15 Black CEOs.
Malone said Vivian’s Door isn’t just about growing these businesses, but it’s more about cultivating relationships with the businesses.
“What really kind of sets us apart is that we’re not a transactional type of incubator or accelerator,” Malone said. “We don’t just deal with a person in one transaction and record that as something that’s done and move on. We’re more relational, meaning that we build a relationship up humanity and humility with these people, and then we meet them where they stand.”
As part of the AARP Purpose Prize, the nonprofit won $50 thousand. When asked what they were planning to do with the money, Malone said they would be building out the Vivian’s Door Business Center, renovating it and adding more classes to their program.
But that’s not where this story ends. The five recipients of the Purpose Prize are now vying for an additional $10 thousand reward.
“For three weeks, you get to sort of rally your supporters and stuff to vote for you to win this award,” Malon said. “It’s called the Inspire Award. Should we win the additional $10 thousand, we’re actually going to give out four mini-grants to business owners that are trying to grow their business and need just that little bump to get them to the next level.”
Voting is taking place on the AARP website.
The Purpose Prize honors people who are 50 and older who are making a difference within their communities through “knowledge and life experience.”