Pinky Cole, founder of Slutty Vegan, gifted LLCs to the entire Clark Atlanta University graduating class of 2022.
Cole hopes to inspire the next generation of business owners.
“Every single graduate in this audience will leave this stadium as a business owner,” Cole, a graduate of CAU, said during the commencement speech.
After graduating from the college in 2009, Cole then worked in Houston for a teaching organization, but she says that “all it took was five days for me to realize I was not cut out to be a classroom teacher.”
Cole explained that she was broke and lost. After borrowing $40 from a friend and breaking down at an airport, she was able to get a flight home to Georgia.
“Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because 13 years later, that same broken and broke little girl now owns and operates not one but two multimillion-dollar businesses in the middle of a pandemic. I’m telling this to you, the class of 2022, that I want you to fail,” she said.
“I want you to fail so hard you become an expert in failure and you get a Ph.D. in failology, she said. “I want you to fail because failing is not failing at all – it is finding aspiration in the losses.”
In 2018, Cole began selling vegan burgers on Instagram from her apartment. She soon worked her way up to a food truck. To date, Cole has four metro Atlanta locations and one in Athens. According to AJC, she also plans to open locations in Columbus; Brooklyn, New York; and Birmingham, Alabama.
Her LLC gifting is in partnership with Varo Bank—costing her upwards of $400,000.
“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.”