SBA grant to establish women’s business center at WSSU
The S.G. Atkins Community Development Corporation has been awarded a grant by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to establish the 6th Women’s Business Center in North Carolina and the second at a North Carolina historically black university.
The Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) Women's Business Center will include an expansion of the current business development program at the Enterprise Center incubator by creating an expanded business services project for the next five years.
The project will include the addition of a full-time program director for the Women’s Business Center to provide classes to the current incubator occupants and entrepreneurs in the community who are start-ups or existing businesses. The expansion will also promote access to SBA grant and loan programs, an advisory committee of mentors and resources to address barriers to economic mobility.
“The sky is the limit for this. Women’s businesses are increasing at a rapid rate,” said Carol Davis, executive director of the S.G. Atkins Community Development Corporation. “The U.S. has approximately 12 million women-owned businesses and we will be strategizing to help our local businesses succeed in a post-Covid economy which means some will need to invest in their online presence more than before.”
Obtaining the SBA grant was no easy feat. Dozens of organizations across the country applied for the Women’s Business Center grants.
“It was a competitive process,” said Davis. “The finalists were narrowed down to 20 that the SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership believed would be able to start strong centers and raise the fund matching requirement. The Enterprise Center has been serving businesses for 10 years, so we were able to show that we have the experience to serve more entrepreneurs. I am currently looking for candidates for the new Women’s Business Center program director position.”
The Enterprise Center, part of the S.G. Atkins Community Development Corporation offers start-up and emerging companies an affordable office space and exceptional level of support from the business professionals and organizations as well as faculty from WSSU.
The mission of The Enterprise Center, located at 1922 S. MLK Jr. Dr, Winston-Salem, is to be a catalyst for business and community collaborations and provide resources and support for “green” ventures in the Triad. The center has a LEED Silver Certification and emphasizes sustainability in its practices and processes.