WCEC Women's Business Center to Use Funds to Provide Critical Resources for Small Business Owners Impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic and Climate Disasters
CHATHAM, N.J., Sept. 28, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Women's Center for Entrepreneurship has received a 75k grant from The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) as a participating nonprofit business development organization (BDO) in its pilot program. LISC is working with the Wells Fargo Foundation to help small businesses plan for and recover from disasters. The Wells Fargo Foundation has funded the LISC Small Business Resiliency Network with a $2 million grant to support community-based disaster training and planning for as many as 500 small businesses operating in disaster-prone areas.
As a participating nonprofit in LISC's Small Business Resiliency Network, the WCEC Women's Business Center plans to use the funds to train staff in disaster preparedness and recovery and to offer business counseling, technical assistance, quality programs and access to capital to ensure that women and BIPOC small business owners have the tools they need to prepare for and manage disaster-related challenges. WCEC staff will work with small business owners to identify the threats that can negatively impact their business, such as national disasters and public health emergencies, in order to develop a plan to protect critical assets.
A standard business resilience plan can include, backing up digital files, safeguarding employee information, securing office equipment, updating insurance coverage, getting financial assistance, and developing a crisis communications plan to respond to the media, customers, stakeholders and partners with key messages to protect the company's reputation. As a LISC BDO partner, the WCEC will offer a disaster preparedness and recovery training webinar for small businesses on October 4. To register, go here.
It has been widely reported that women and BIPOC small business owners are more vulnerable to disasters due to a lack of access to capital, adequate savings and professional resources like business plan assistance, which can help mitigate the damage caused by catastrophic events. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) close permanently after a devastating natural disaster and 25% reopen but fail to remain operational within a year. The challenges are magnified for marginalized groups who historically have been faced with limited resources and a lack of access to capital. During the beginning of the pandemic, It was reported that 40% of Black-owned businesses were forced to shutter due to the double blow of dealing with a major health and financial crisis. As a result, there has been a lasting ripple effect on underserved communities who are still struggling to achieve long term recovery. However, It's important to note that Black women have been fueling the recent rebound by starting a record breaking number of new businesses.
Executive Director for Women's Center for Entrepreneurship, Rana Shanawani believes being prepared for a disaster is crucial for women and BIPOC small business owners who often face socio-economic challenges. "The LISC grant will help the WCEC provide the critical resources needed for our small business clients to develop a business resilience plan that sets them up for sustainable recovery and long term success."
The WCEC's many client success stories showcase its positive social impact on the small business community it serves and its commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. To date, the WCEC Women's Business Center has received over 2 million in funding which has helped the organization serve the needs of more than 1,300 small business owners, predominantly women and BIPOC entrepreneurs. This year, in addition to the LISC grant, the WCEC has received funding from Wells Fargo and Junior League of Summit which will help the organization continue its mission to help small businesses representing underserved communities recover and thrive.
About Women's Center for Entrepreneurship The Women's Center for Entrepreneurship (WCEC) is a registered 501c3 nonprofit. As a Small Business Administration Resource Partner, Community Navigator and Women's Business Center, the WCEC's mission is to help small businesses succeed. The WCEC Women's Business Center works with women and minority-owned businesses from the start up stage to existing small businesses looking to scale up by providing educational resources, business counseling, career training, technical assistance and COVID-19 relief loan and grant assistance. The WCEC is a recipient of the SBA Resiliency and Recovery Demonstration grant and a Silver Stevie Award Winner.
For more information on WCEC, go to https://www.wcecnj.org
Lelani Clark, Women's Center for Entrepreneurship, 646-389-4129, [email protected]
SOURCE Women's Center for Entrepreneurship