**FILE** Prince George's Community College Hillman Entrepreneurs Honors class with speaker Dr. Margaret Dureke (center) (Courtesy of WETATi)
**FILE** Prince George's Community College Hillman Entrepreneurs Honors class with speaker Dr. Margaret Dureke (center) (Courtesy of WETATi)

This weekend, April 21-23, the WETATi Center for Creative Thinking, Leadership and Entrepreneurship holds its highly anticipated 6th annual WETATi Convention and Gala at the University of Maryland, Nyumburu Cultural Center and the Adele Student Stamp Union Colony Ballroom.

“If the answer to financial freedom was just getting a college degree, we’d be OK,” said WETATi CEO and President Margaret Dureke of the African-American community. “But the truth is, we have to teach our children to be more practical.”

WETATi stands for “We’re Empowered To Achieve the impossible” and Dr. Dureke believes her program can ignite the untapped potential of her program participants, usually women and minority millennials.

“You can’t aspire to achieve something that has not been introduced into your consciousness,” Dureke reflected.

To that end, WETATi invites entrepreneurs of all ages and their families to attend three days of panel discussions on “Business Development & Economic Empowerment,” “Women Empowerment,” and “Entrepreneurship and Generational Wealth Building in the Next Generation.”

As in previous years, the WETATi 2017 Convention and Gala brings together local business moguls, aspiring entrepreneurs, students, community leaders, and politicians in panels and networking sessions to spark inspiration and insightful discussions on entrepreneurship.

As a J.D., Prince George’s Community College Adjunct Faculty Member, Guest Lecturer at Howard University School of Business, entrepreneur and recently appointed Goodwill Ambassador to the Republic of Gambia, Dr. Dureke believes that too many young people fall into the only track presented to them.

In her estimation, the well-worn path of attending school, working 9-to-5 for 30 years, and retiring offers little in the way of true financial freedom.

Dr. Dureke created WETATi to encourage young students and entrepreneurs of all ages to break out of this mold.

“In order to attain true financial freedom and create generational wealth, the present-day professional must hone their talents, self-start, and create opportunities for themselves,” she said.

WETATi 2017 will host its first-ever Entrepreneurship Competition on Friday, April 22. Six aspiring entrepreneurs and disadvantaged small business owners aged 11 through 67 will pitch their business ideas to a panel of investor judges.

Prizes range from business grants up to the amount of $7,500 to a minimum of $1,500. The three winners will be announced at the WETATi Scholarship, Grants and Awards Gala, open to all on Saturday, April 23. They additionally receive Business Development Training from WETATi partner Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) and ongoing training and support through WETATi Center for Creative  inking, Leadership and Entrepreneurship.

WETATi’s ultimate mission is to equip the next generation with an entrepreneurship education and allow the space and tools for students to ask themselves, “How can I turn what God has given me into an opportunity?” and change their narratives.

A dedicated founder, Dr. Dureke states, “This is my last calling, I want to die doing this. Mark your calendar, a lot of lives will change.”

Visit http://wetaticonvention.com to register for the convention.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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