Growing a Business, Plants, and Community  

Omicelo Cares has enabled business owners in Pittsburgh communities to grow their business through strategic planning within their 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program. Within this program, participants have the opportunity to focus on seven sectors of their business: strategy, technology, communication, finance, legal, capital, and people.

Ebony Lunsford-Evans recently graduated from the 2021-22 program of 7 Pillars™, concentrating on the financial pillar of her business.

“It’s helped me as a business owner learn to focus on the important things in my business and keep an eye on the way things grow in business,” she said.

And Lunsford-Evans certainly loves to watch things grow. As an urban farmer and lifelong educator located in the West End of Pittsburgh, Lunsford-Evans has dedicated a good portion of her life to helping things grow: fresh produce, the community members she teaches, and her businesses, Farmer Girl Eb and Out of The End, Incorporated.

Through her participation in Omicelo Cares’ 7 Pillars™ program, Lunsford-Evans had the opportunity to work with attorneys and create a consignment agreement for her business, Farmer Girl Eb. Before she completed this program, her consignment agreement created a 100% increase in entrepreneurial partnerships for her produce store.

The 7 Pillars™ Process: Growing Her Business

Through the 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program, Omicelo Cares came alongside Lunsford-Evans to help her build her strategic plan. Her plan outlined her personal and financial goals in a yearly structure. Omicelo Cares’ employees were able to support her by helping her to create a clear focus on where she was headed. As a result, this strategic plan produced tangible results.

With the guidance of Omicelo Cares, Lunsford-Evans increased her entrepreneurial partnerships by 100% before completing the 7 Pillars program.

During the program, Lunsford-Evans felt respected for who she was in her creativity. She said that the Omicelo Cares Staff supported and guided her by listening to her goals and recognizing her strengths. This support enabled her to successfully develop her business into what she truly wanted it to be. 

Impacting Her Community Through Growing Plants

Lunsford-Evans began her business pursuit with a desire to educate others. After teaching in the public school, she utilized her skills as an educator to build her business in urban farming and agricultural education. 

She began by renovating an “eye-sore” of a vacant lot into a beautifully lush urban farm. She now owns two urban farms, one in the West End and the other in the North Side. These farms supply her corner produce store, Farmer Girl Eb, along with other entrepreneurs she partners with. 

“We grow fresh produce there on both lots,” Lunsford-Evens said. “They’re both teaching sites for the community to come and learn to grow and sustain fresh food that we grow right in the ground.” 

With these resources, she has impacted her community in many ways. Through her non-profit organization, Out of the End, Inc., she has educated community members on how to sustain and grow food from seed, harvest produces, build a relationship with the land, understand soil health, scale and distribute food, and understand herbal medicines. 

“We have farmers from 3 years old all the way up to 83 years old,” she said about her students within the community. 

Lunsford-Evans explained how the ability to grow and sustain food decreases the social determinants of health, saying, “Now that a lot of people are becoming more aware of how to have a relationship with their land, grow food, and eat healthier, negative impacts on the social determinants of health are decreasing. People are not having the illnesses that they were experiencing.”

She is passionate about educating her community on the importance of eating healthy because of how it can impact their overall health issues. 

“I’ve had to literally tell the community, ‘I’m not a doctor,’” she said. “But I’ve had people literally be healed from just eating right and creating medicine from the land.”

7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business

The 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program empowers business owners to create clear goals and achieve substantial results. This program unites business owners passionate about their communities with our experts at Omicelo Cares, who strive to co-power community members to own financial assets, grow their business, and increase their income. 

Lunsford-Evans was able to take part in this program and watch not only her business grow but also the communities she is serving. Her desire to benefit her community overflows into her work as she strives to make fresh food available for the community as a whole.

Learn more about how the 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program can help you impact your community through business growth.

Vision. Mission. Focus. Obtain Your Business Goals with 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business

Taylor Ford knew she needed to find the time to slow down and work on her business because she was struggling to find focus. She owned one IT business that offered numerous facets of IT work. However, Ford struggled to create a clear direction for her services because of the company’s extensive reach.

Aware that she needed help to develop and focus her business, Ford signed up for Omicelo Cares’ 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program. This program centers on seven different business sectors, which are Strategy, Technology, Communication, Finance, Legal, Capital, and People, gearing toward each participant’s business’ unique needs. 

This program provided Ford with mentorship, guidance, and support focusing on the strategy and marketing pillars.

“My favorite part about that was actually the one-on-one mentoring with 7 Pillars™ Manager, Shannon,” Ford said about the Omicelo Care’s team member. “She became a real friend in my business; a real partner. And she helped me with my strategy, and she helped me conceptualize who I actually was in business and what I wanted to do and the impact that I wanted to make.”

Focusing and Strategizing Her Business 

Through the support of Omicelo Cares, Ford successfully separated her business into two distinct companies: Taylor Made IT Services and IT’s For Me. Both of her businesses are centered on giving technology access to minorities, but each has its specific focus.

Taylor Made IT Services offers IT managerial services with on-site help, unique from most IT companies.

“What differentiates Taylor made is we have a lot of on-site help,” Ford said. “We literally contract out our department. We come embedded in integral parts of our clients’ environments and ecosystems because we are their staff members; we are their technicians.”

Taylor Made’s next goal is to take over the charter school scene to make sure that there is a Taylor Made technician in every charter school serving minorities, Ford said.

On the other hand, IT’s For Me teaches the community how to utilize various mainstream technology through summer programs and after-school camps.

“The after-school programs help the children be creative and innovative using technology,” Ford explained. “It supports the theme that they don’t all have to be basketball players and football players. They can be astronauts, they can be engineers, they can be scientists, and allowing them the space to create, to be innovative, to think, has really changed the game for them.”

IT’s For Me currently partners with after-school programs, but they will host their own after-school programs and summer camps next year. At these programs and camps, the kids can work on varying projects, including designing websites, building fliers, working on their resumes and cover letters, learning the Microsoft Office Suite, and collaborating in a group. These events focus on varying sectors of technology.

Ford explained that her companies didn’t change all that much; they both still offered the same services.

“It was more so an internal separation that really needed to happen for our clients,” Ford said. “There was a service shift.”

This focus and separation improved her work environment by establishing a clear direction for her team by always relating their services to their mission. 

“It’s improved my overall quality of life because I have a tidbit of my sanity back because now I know which way I am going,” Ford said. 

Support On Her Business Journey

Omicelo Cares and their partners came alongside Ford to support her as a business partner to obtain tangible results by slowing down and working on her business.

“They helped me build upon what exactly my company does,” Ford said. “So, that’s why I separated them. They were able to help me to clarify my message for each of them because they don’t do the same thing. They don’t have the same clientele. They’re not the same target market.”

The program’s collaborative nature enabled Ford and other participants to focus solely on their business with the help of Omicelo Cares’ business professionals. 

Separating her two businesses clarified which services were being offered to each customer. 

7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business

Ford highly recommends the 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program because of how the mentors support you and become your partners and friends. 

“[They] built a rapport with me that is very hard to build, and they kept that rapport,” Ford said.

The 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business is a hands-on, personalized experience that forces you to work on your business, Ford said. It teaches that with all seven pillars, your business can be structured to achieve income growth and sustainability:

The 7 Pillars™ include:

  • Strategy
  • Technology
  • Communication 
  • Finance 
  • Legal 
  • Capital
  • People

Visit our website to learn more about the 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program and how it can help you grow your business.