By The Holiday Firm Manisha Holiday | Published May 14, 2022 12:59PM | Education | The Holiday Firm Atlanta
Every single graduate in this audience will leave this stadium as a business owner. " I didn't have no plan, but I'm going to make sure you do," she said. Clark Atlanta's class of 2022 has more than 800 graduates.
ATLANTA - Clark Atlanta University alumna, entrepreneur, author, philanthropist and business owner is helping recent college graduates pursue dreams of launching their own businesses.
Pinky Cole, the founder of Slutty Vegan, gifted the class of 2022 graduates a limited liability company, or LLC, encouraging them to go down the same entrepreneurship path that she has flourished along during Saturday's commencement ceremony. Cole said partnered with Varo Bank.
In a commencement address, Cole told the graduates of her own stumbles after she herself graduated from Clark Atlanta in 2009. She spoke of how she reluctantly went to Houston to work for a teaching organization, needing to take just any job that came along, and "all it took was five days for me to realize I was not cut out to be a classroom teacher."
From there, she spoke about how she borrowed $40 from a friend and went to the airport, not knowing what to do with herself. An airline employee encountered her crying, she said, and went and got her $240 to get her on a plane home.
"Pinky Cole had a business and lost everything. My car got repo' d, got kicked out of my house, went flat broke, almost lost my mind - and almost four years later, she now owns and operates at $100 million vegan brand. She found aspiration in the losses," Cole said. "You think I was gonna give up because of some failure? Hell no. And neither will you."
Cole is now the restauranteur behind the Slutty Vegan and Bar Vegan ATL phenomena. She began selling Slutty Vegan's burgers via Instagram out of her apartment in 2018. Today, according to a recent Forbes article, Cole recently secured $25 million through a series of funding and Slutty Vegan currently has a market value of $100 million. Cole plans to open 10 more restaurant locations by the end of 2022 and another 10 by the end of 2023.
Cole graduated from CAU in 2009 with a major in mass communication/media studies. She was Miss Clark Atlanta in 2008 and was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Sigma Chapter. A dedicated ambassador for CAU, making it known that she is a proud graduate at every opportunity. “She is a consistent financial supporter and has helped many students continue their matriculation through graduation.”
Pinky Cole is also founder of the Pinky Cole Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Slutty Vegan that focuses on financial literacy and entrepreneurship education—especially for communities of color. The organization recently launched a plan that supports the health, safety and well-being of the community during COVID-19. Other initiatives have included paying the rent for other small businesses in the Metro-Atlanta area, providing meals to the City of Atlanta’s supported foundations, and launching an Entrepreneurs Anonymous Digital initiative to help businesses affected by the pandemic.