STLMade Conversations:
Grind + Growth

Okay, so: What is Grind + Growth?

Grind + Growth is a nonprofit organization, and we focus on helping entrepreneurs or business owners who need access to potential capital. We teach business education and just help them to understand their business, and their business idea a little bit more. I’ve noticed that a lot of entrepreneurs, they are starting businesses and they don’t really have the understanding or the education or even the financial support to sustain it. And that’s when we come in and just really help them from Point A all the way to Point Z, hand-holding if needed, to really help them with that process so they can be successful.

How do you help entrepreneurs?

What I really noticed that I’m helping them with the most is helping them identify their purpose, and giving them a sense of hope, like it’s not over. A lot of people they say, “I really needed this information. I really needed this advice. Thank you so much. This was really good, to know I can really do it now. I’m really understanding what I need to do. I feel like I have a purpose of being here.” So those are the awesome takeaways that I noticed that we’ve been having.

Why did you start Grind + Growth?

Grind + Growth honestly started in 2016 as an idea. I was the person who was helping their friends register their businesses with the state of Missouri, helping them with their proposals, helping them with grant writing. I was that friend and I just thought about like, you know what, maybe I should really honestly take this a little bit more seriously and learn how to do it. Then I can help a lot more people. And so that’s when I decided to go ahead and make it a nonprofit organization where I can get that funding coming in to where I can offer the programs and services for free, because a lot of people can’t really afford expensive trainings or classes. And if they are just now trying to get their business off the ground, every penny really counts. And I don’t want to have to take away from what can go towards their business. I want to be able to help put money into it.

“It's about living a purposeful life and doing the best that you can do.”
– Valerie Liddell

How do you want people to feel when they’re at Grind + Growth?

When I saw the space, I was like, this is really beautiful. This would be a really nice space for people to come to. And it just reminded me of home. It was very homey and that’s the kind of environment I want when people come in. I want them to feel like they’re at home, like at peace.

And I feel like we are doing those things by providing a safe space where when people come through these doors, they know they belong here. They’re getting the help that they need, the help that they deserve. They’re getting unmatched customer service and their needs are being met.

What are your goals for the future?

My hope for Grind + Growth for the future is to continue to grow, continue to grind and help those who need us the most. And to be able to have such a profound impact within St. Louis city or the St. Louis metropolitan region, where people are saying, “I went there and look at me now,” where we have success story after success story, where we instilled a purpose in people again, where they are starting to believe in themselves again, and knowing that they can do it. It’s not just about saying, “I’m my own boss,” or “I own my own business.” It’s about creating generational wealth for your family, for the generations after you. It’s about living a purposeful life and doing the best that you can do.

Thanks for talking with us, Valerie. 

This conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity by Lauren Harms Milford.

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