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New MWBE Accelerator Announces Grand Opening in the Innovation Quarter

The ACCESS Center for Equity + Success announced its grand opening in the Innovation Quarter inside Bailey Power Plant. The Center provides certification training, access to capital, contract matching, entrepreneurial resources and more to existing minority-owned and women-owned businesses in Winston-Salem. ACCESS Center for Equity + Success is a joint effort of
Venture Café Winston-Salem and Piedmont Business Capital.

The ACCESS Center is positioned to transform the level of opportunity and access for local minority-owned and women-owned businesses to move the needle on economic mobility. The Center will create an immediate and measurable impact and fill a needed gap in Winston-Salem’s economic landscape. The center features a meeting space, resource library, and internet access.

The ACCESS Center for Equity + Success will be led by its Community Manager Hasani Mitchell. Having previously served as Diversity Compliance Specialist for the City of Winston Salem’s Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise department, Mitchell is uniquely positioned to ensure the ACCESS Center is a success.

“Our goal is to give existing MWBE businesses the resources and fuel they need to grow and create jobs,” said Mitchell. “When companies create jobs, they hire people they know, and that helps strengthen neighborhoods. And when companies hire qualified minority-owned businesses, it helps them achieve their diversity and inclusion goals, so it’s a win-win situation.”

Venture Café Winston-Salem is part of a global nonprofit network of organizations hosting weekly Thursday Gatherings that serves as a physical nexus for helping innovators and entrepreneurs find one another and collaborate. Piedmont Business Capital creates shared economic prosperity through equitable lending and investment.

“Venture Café Winston-Salem is committed to building our city into the most successful minority and women’s entrepreneurial community in the Southeast,” said Karen Barnes, Executive Director of Venture Café Winston-Salem. “The ACCESS Center for Equity + Success is an important step in the direction. We’re looking to level the playing field and create a truly inclusive economy that reaches into every part of the city.”

Wilson Lester, Executive Director for Piedmont Business Capital, stated his organization is developing a $500,000 capital stack to loan to existing MWBE businesses through the ACCESS Center.

Through flexible, financial products and sound advice, PBC creates opportunities to make socially responsible investments that revitalize communities in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.

“When a business gets a contract and needs operating capital to expand staff or purchase new equipment for example, we can help them get the money they need to complete the work. We’re ready to put half a million dollars to work in Winston Salem.”

Venture Café Winston-Salem and Piedmont Business Capital are launching the ACCESS Center with grant funding from Wexford Science + Technology, the developer of Bailey Power Plant and from Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

“We know that that women- and minority-led small business historically have a harder time finding access to funding and other types of entrepreneurial support,” said Lindsey Schwab, director of community relations for the Innovation Quarter. “Providing that level playing field in terms of small business and startup support is crucial to a vibrant and healthy innovation ecosystem, and the ACCESS Center helps us intentionally move in that direction.”

ACCESS Center for Equity + Success is located inside Bailey Power Plant at 486 Patterson Ave., Suite 241, Winston Salem, N.C. Minority- and women-owned busineses seeking support should contact the Center by visiting the website: www.accessws.org.


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