Wells Fargo announced an initiative focused on mentoring 500 women-owned businesses called Connect to More. Connect to More is part of a new wave of support for entrepreneurs. Wells Fargo also announced the second phase of funding from its Open for Business Fund. The fund will provide 93 nonprofits with access to experts that can help grow their businesses.
“Access to trusted expertise helps small businesses move from surviving to thriving,” said Jenny Flores, head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “For many small businesses, having access to mentorship and trusted experts in areas like marketing, business planning, technology and legal can be a critical turning point for getting back to growth.”
A resource for women-owned businesses
Connect to More is one example of how Wells Fargo is supporting the success and sustainability of women-owned businesses. The company is offering access to expertise and specialized resources. As part of the program, Wells Fargo partnered with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. There, women entrepreneurs can gain complimentary support through the signature Milestone Mapping Coaching Circles. The Cicles were born from the challenges of COVID-19. Participants get hands-on help setting and reaching business goals from a network of peer mentors and industry experts.
“As an entrepreneur, you don’t always have the time to sit and reflect on your business, it’s always go go go,” said Ruby Taylor, owner of Financial Joy School, and a current Circle participant. “Not only does this program give you that time, but it also includes a support system of amazing women. So far I’ve walked away with concrete marketing and social media strategies to promote more brand awareness for my business.”
“I love this program’s heart-centered approach and how it’s helping me clarify the value and mission of my business,” said Amy Li, Founder & CEO of Dance4Healing, another current Circle participant. “Because my company is all about bridging creative arts and health care using technology, I’ve struggled with how to make it sustainable while also doing good. The Circle has helped me set milestone goals to develop a sales channel strategy and connect with the right support I need for my business to thrive toward a greater ecosystem.”
Fostering tomorrow’s women-owned businesses
Connect to More will offer Milestone Mapping Coaching Circles throughout the year and into 2022. The goal is to help 500 women-owned businesses. Each Circle is open to all women-identifying business owners in the U.S. They provide a biweekly opportunity for women entrepreneurs to work through specific challenges. They will also get to celebrate milestones, attend workshops and connect with small business experts and mentors. Those interested in applying must complete an application, and upon acceptance, will be placed in a Circle.
“As a non-profit committed to access and equity in entrepreneurship, we are grateful for this opportunity to help 500 women-owned businesses accelerate their personal growth as leaders and gain support as they solve big problems that make their families and communities stronger,” says Nicola Corzine, executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. “We believe accelerating women business owners’ influence and economic opportunities are critical to addressing the intolerable wealth gap.”
Open for Business Fund announces technical assistance grants
The company is also distributing more than $55 million to 93 nonprofits from its Open for Business Fund. The fund is a roughly $420 million small business recovery effort. These grants will make experts in business planning, accounting, financial management, legal, marketing and more available to small business owners for coaching and guidance.
According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), small businesses with access to expertise have a lot to gain, including a “30 percent difference in average annual revenue growth for a sample of businesses that got support compared to their peers that did not. In fact, with the right mix of resources and support systems, employment from microbusinesses in low-wealth communities alone could grow by well-over 10 percent.”
The nonprofits selected to join the Open for Business Fund range from universities to local chambers of commerce to economic development funds with an emphasis on reaching small business owners most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. For a complete list of grantees, visit here.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company. It has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10 percent of small businesses in the U.S. It is the leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services. We also provide consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 37 on Fortune’s 2021 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
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Read about the value of mentorship in running a successful business.