Shaylon Scott is the executive director for Founders First CDC, whose mission is “Accelerating the growth of diverse-led businesses. Here she speaks about the opportunities for minority-0wned businesses to receive the much-needed funding and education to move beyond simply working in your business but the space to work ON your business. Read more.
As executive director of Founders First CDC, please explain your role in helping to invest in Texas businesses amid the global COVID-19 pandemic?
As the Executive Director, it is my priority to advance our mission to solve racial and social-economic equity gaps that prevent businesses led by diverse founders from growing profits, premium wage jobs, and wealth creation in their communities. Many companies struggled to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and although governmental resources were available, not all small businesses were eligible to receive assistance. In fact, many small businesses that are vital to the communities they serve were forced to close their doors. With greater availability of the vaccine helping to ease regional restrictions as well as financial and educational resources provided by organizations like Founders First CDC, small businesses are hopeful as they move forward.
Do you feel not enough minority-owned businesses know these types of grant programs exist and why?
Yes, I do, access to resources and education may be available, but underserved communities and businesses owners may not know they exist for a number of reasons. One such is a lack of social networks in the business community that allow a constant exchange of information and resources. Programs that provide peer support and education framework like Founders First CDC allows business owners to interact with others in their industry and engage with business support organizations in their communities.
How does Founders First CDC motivate discouraged businesses who find it impossible to get funding?
Founders First CDC encourages the ability for a business to be “fund ready.” With education through our three distinct accelerator programs, we empower diverse business owners to understand what type of funding they need to take their business to the next level and determine when they are ready to do so. Understanding your business’ financial health is not only a powerful tool when it comes to telling your story, but it’s also empowering for a business as they seek support and funding opportunities.
$100,000 will be awarded to minority businesses throughout the state of Texas to create and promote premium wage employment opportunities in underserved communities. It’s great news for small businesses looking to hire to build a team. What is the one thing you can say right now to get these minority-owned businesses to apply before the deadline on Wednesday, September 22?
The pandemic has taught each of us the value of community and embracing what makes you feel fulfilled in your life. Applying for the Job Creators Quest grant gives you the opportunity to move beyond simply working in your business and allows you the space to work ON your business. This opportunity from Founders First CDC is not just a way to receive funding to support your business goals, but it’s paired with education to help you as you scale and grow your business. Our team is available to answer any questions and support your business as you apply by 9/22 at www.foundersfirstcdc.org/texas.
What is a creative story you’ve heard of a grant recipient and how they spent the monies to grow their business?
As we close out our fourth grant offering in the nation, we’ve had businesses that apply provide a variety of ways that they plan to use the funds to support their businesses. Some planned to use the funds for technology, marketing needs, repairs for essential business items, and supplemental income to add new staff.
Apply for the Founders CDC Grant today before the deadline on Wednesday, September 22.
Photo courtesy of KTA Media Group