In order to address the problems small business owners are facing due to the pandemic, Wells Fargo has awarded Florida A&M University a $100,000 grant to fund a small business incubator through the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at FAMU, that will assist women and minority-owned businesses.
By establishing the new small business incubator program, the FSBDC will offer entrepreneurs and small business owners the support they need to combat the challenges inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Wells Fargo implemented their ‘Open for Business Fund’ to address the challenges that many small business owners and entrepreneurs are facing due to COVID 19,” said Keith Bowers, the Regional Director of the FSBDC at FAMU. “ Through the Open for Business Fund, Wells Fargo is providing capital, technical support and long-term resiliency programs to organizations that serve small businesses. We spoke with Valerie Jenkins, Vice President of Community Relations at Wells Fargo and she encouraged us to apply for the grant.” Region Bank President for Wells Fargo Damien Haitsuka hopes this program will be impactful to the community and wants to ensure participants are getting the resources they need to be successful.
“You can’t just throw money at the situation you have to throw in the other resources like human capital around it as well and I think that’s why we have such great confidence in the steps that will be taken to help these small businesses,” said Haitsuka. “Plus you’ve got the SBDC who has done a fantastic job, knows the community and I think together it’s a tremendous effort towards helping our small business community, especially those of diverse settings.”
Participants enrolled in the incubator will receive business plan support and critique, business model review, minimum viable product development, customer discovery, market research, marketing support, cash flow management, financial analysis, strategic planning, access to capital and business formation technical assistance.
Kimberly Moore, the Vice President for Workforce Innovation at Tallahassee Community College and Vice Chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees, also believes this program will have a huge impact on local small businesses, seeing as how over 75% of our small businesses have 10 or fewer employees. The program will create many new job opportunities for Tallahassee residents and Moore recommends entrepreneurs take advantage of the new program and the services provided at the FSBDC at FAMU.
Entrepreneurs and business owners accepted into the program will be provided a dedicated workspace and have access to a shared conference room, internet access, copiers, printers and office supplies. They will also benefit from having access to certified business consultants, subject matter experts, programmed training, mentoring, business coaching and capital resources. The program is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2022. Successful candidates will be admitted to the Founders’ Accelerated Navigation Guide (FANG) for a six-month accelerator business training program and the FSBDC have already identified 3 business owners that will be part of the initial cohort.
“It is our goal to use the incubator as a model that can be scaled to accommodate more small business owners and entrepreneurs,” said Bowers. “We are developing a blueprint that can be replicated in underserved communities across the country.”
We are busy working on the details of the new Small Business Incubator. Once there are firm dates, they will be announced along with the application process. For up=to-date information, head to our Facebook Page.