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  • Writer's pictureJessica Bond

Teaming up with the NAACP

This past summer, SCCF partnered with the NAACP and People Inc. to facilitate our Business Bootcamp entrepreneurship program for Black and Brown entrepreneurs in Winchester, Virginia! This was the first time that SCCF teamed up with these organizations, and the program was a huge success!

The Business Bootcamp program is geared towards helping people with a business idea learn how to successfully launch their business. Through eight, two-hour sessions, SCCF provided content and resources to help new Black and Brown founders develop the skills to be successful entrepreneurs, determine the viability of their idea, and identify what steps they should take next. A wide range of business topics were covered and participants had access to Q&A sessions with local entrepreneurs and business experts. SCCF typically conducts this program virtually via Zoom, but with the support of the NAACP and People Inc., was able to host this cohort in person at Shenandoah University.

This in-person class also provided meaningful connection and relationship-building - between attendees, facilitators, and SCCF staff! The Winchester cohort was an excellent example of how entrepreneurs come together and create community. As their ideas were being formed, participants learned to lean on one another during their journey and utilize each other’s talents. It was inspiring to witness the connections and relationships that were born over the course of eight weeks.

Key Successes:

Planting the seed of entrepreneurship

There were several participants who, at the start of the class, did not yet have a business idea. They were just there to observe and brainstorm, which is a great function of Business Bootcamp! You don’t have to execute a business idea, but you will walk away with the knowledge of how to execute your idea once it comes to you. Over the course of the program, participants’ ideas evolved and they got more clarity and direction from staff and their peers. One participant, in particular, had his “ah ha” moment midway through the class, and began plans of opening an ice cream truck for railroad passengers!

Business ideas were community-driven

It was refreshing to see how many participants' business ideas were community-driven, primarily focused on helping others! One participant was passionate about opening a grocery store to help revive her community and assist the elderly. The notion to offer her service as a delivery came to her during class and this proved to be a game changer for the direction of her business.

Another participant is starting a security business to help individuals navigate the journey of aging parents. She came up with her slogan during the marketing session, and it was delightful to see her eyes light up when she finally created the perfect tagline.

Local Black and Brown businesses were highlighted

A unique feature that we were able to introduce to the in-person program was highlighting local businesses that are a staple in the community. We had Island Delights Caribbean Restaurant, Franklins Smokin Barnyard, DAH Cuisines, and T-Bones Bar & Grill, all Black and Brown-owned caterers and vendors, provide food to the participants before each class. The food provided was delicious and brought a sense of connection among the group.

We also had several minority business experts help to lead various class sessions. Danielle Unique McEwen, the founder of Unique VZSN, facilitated the marketing session, “Attendees didn't leave just acquiring knowledge; they left equipped with actionable steps they can put into play right away. They broke the struggle of aligning marketing with their brand's one-of-a-kind essence. We were grateful to pour into our community by collaborating, learning, and elevating businesses and community leadership to new levels!” Janette Gallardo, a fractional CFO, the founder of Vitta Solutions, and an S2V alum, led a session on business finances. Daniel Kelly, a local musician and entrepreneur, and Mario Wisdom, a business strategist and Shenandoah University alum, also hosted sessions on customers and competition and knowing your business owner persona.

"The Shenandoah Community Capital Fund and Peoples Inc. Business Bootcamp at Shenandoah University, along with NAACP support, was very educational and impactful.

Each business class session was designed with great structure, good business facts, and top financial direction. The presenters were knowledgeable and helpful in their respective business development fields and offered equitable solutions to questions by the attendees. The information binders provided great valuable documents to utilize to improve each business idea in the right direction. I wholeheartedly recommend anyone, entrepreneurs or those who dream of owning their own business, to take the SCCF business class course," said Mike Faison, President of the NAACP.

This program was a success in many ways. Not only did the participants learn how to launch their business, but they also developed meaningful connections with other entrepreneurs and organizations. SCCF’s mission is to assist entrepreneurs throughout their entire entrepreneurial journey by providing connections, resources, tools, and more. We believe strengthening the entrepreneurial community is the cornerstone of a thriving ecosystem. We are thankful to People, Inc. and the NAACP for their partnership in this program, and look forward to developing more partnerships like this in the future!


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