NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — As a child in Norfolk’s Liberty Park, little Angela was exactly where she wanted to be. She was at the front of her make-believe classroom teaching doll students important lessons such as “I before E except after C” and “Look both ways before you cross the street.” Her favorite student was a stuffed Rodney Allen Rippy. At the end of a day of learning, she would wrap her arms around the little ones to say: “Good job boys and girls.”
“They were the best students because they never talked back. I remember thinking I always wanted to be a teacher and help people understand life,” said Dr. Angela Reddix.
Little Angela did just that. At 52 years old, Reddix now is the owner of a successful health care management and IT consulting firm. It’s a 15-year-old, multi-million dollar operation with 100 employees. She is also director of the Hodge Center for Entrepreneurship at Norfolk State University.
Reddix now wraps her arms around more than a thousand teen girls who have completed her Envision Lead Grow program.
“I’ve been able to train middle school girls to become thousandaires; they are actually selling their goods and services and they are extremely successful,” said Reddix.
The pandemic produced another “Dr. Reddix Rx.” As businesses across the country failed, Reddix wrapped her arms around minority women business owners who were struggling to keep the lights on. Last March, Reddix climbed Mt. Trashmore to award grants, which totaled $40,000, thanks to partners.
“It was a windy day but it was just so exciting to stand on Mt. Trashmore and just to hand out these checks to these women and what that meant for them,” said Reddix.
As the pandemic enters its second year, the Reddix Rules Fund this spring will once again offer a helping hand to a group that has been disproportionately affected by the public.
The Reddix Rules Fund will award grants to 10 Hampton Roads women of color. For this year, the grants total $20,000 but the number could grow with community partnerships.
Contestants will undergo 10 hours of training, resilience coaching, and financial support is offered. This is the “Reddix Rx” for ailing entrepreneurs.
According to the findings of a study last year, 41% of Black-owned businesses failed in the early stages of the pandemic compared to 17% for white-owned businesses.
“There is an urgency that we survive as small businesses so that our economy can survive and thrive,” she said.
The resilience component is designed to address the stress associated with business ownership in good times and bad.
“The suicidal thoughts of entrepreneurs are double that of those who are not entrepreneurs. So, when they say it’s lonely at the top, it’s lonely at the top,” said Reddix.
The application for the 2021 Reddix Rules Fund can be found on Reddix’s website. There is no cost to apply and the application deadline is Friday, April 30. Winners will be announced from May 9-18, 2021.