Charlotte, NC…Monday, March 15, 2021…According to a recent report by the Small Business Trends Alliance (SBTA) and the Senate’s Small Business Trends (SSBT), the top three reasons that derail the success of small business owners are the lack of role models, access to funding and marketing. This is particularly true for minority and women-owned businesses.
However, Synergy for Women Business Owners (Synergy4WBO), co-founded by two women of color, is banking on its approach to dramatically alter the narrative for minority and women business owners. Shirley Vincent and Dr. Kim R. Grimes combined vision and strengths as successful business owners and formed Synergy4WBO as a 501c3 organization headquartered in Charlotte, NC. Its purpose is to change the future for minority and women-owned businesses, especially businesses owned by people of color.
“By providing business mentorship, coaching, marketing strategies, access to capital, and a powerful support network with corporate partnerships, we believe Synergy is uniquely positioned to fulfill its purpose,” says Vincent, Synergy’s CEO. “Our focus is to connect small business owners with the knowledge, expertise, mentors, community and resources that will inspire them to achieve their full potential.”
The duo met while working on a successful mentoring program for women business owners who provide products and services in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Vincent and Dr. Grimes partnered to continue the efforts in various arenas and to change the future for minority and women-owned businesses.
Vincent is an award-winning serial entrepreneur who founded several successful businesses building software and digital marketing products, web and mobile applications in the U.S. and in India. Dr. Grimes is also the owner of two businesses, an inspirational speaker, a certified life coach, a bestselling author, and an ordained minister. Together both women are determined to empower and inspire small businesses to triumph, thus changing their future.
“Our goal is to open doors of opportunities for small minority and women-owned businesses, so they can have access to key components needed for their success,” said Synergy4WBO’s COO, Dr. Grimes. “Access to funding, mentorship, thought leaders, effective marketing strategies, industry best practices, combined with a supporting community of like-minded business owners, will change the future of any small business,” she said.
Having experienced the struggles that comes with growing and scaling their own businesses, Vincent and Dr. Grimes stress that matching small business owners with successful business role models who serve as mentors is important. However, they believe that adding the components of marketing and providing access to capital is key to breaking the glass ceiling.
With the experience under their belt from supporting over 50 successful small businesses for more than three years, Synergy4WBO launched its first cohort for 2021 with five women business owners from around the country. There is no charge to small businesses that participate in Synergy’s Mentor Program and applicants are nominated from within Synergy’s nationwide community of successful entrepreneurs and corporate executives. After a stringent screening process, once accepted, applicants have a voice in selecting the mentors they feel best match their business goals– an uniquely attractive component to the process. The program provides 12 months of one-on-one mentoring and coaching and keeps track of each participant for a total of 24 months.
While people of color start businesses at the same rate as their white counterparts, there is a vast disparity in the assistance, profitability, and early survival rates of businesses. Vincent and Dr. Grimes see this disparity as the perfect opportunity for corporations to step up and make a considerable impact. To that end, Synergy4WBO is looking for corporations who have a genuine focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion along with investing in small businesses, by serving as corporate financial partners.
“A recent study on minority business ownership, found that the racial gap in business ownership costs the country as much as $300 billion in lost income and as many as nine million jobs,” shared Vincent. “At Synergy4WBO, we have the capacity to change the future of small businesses, by partnering and aligning with corporations who are committed to the growth and sustainment of minority and women-owned businesses, especially small businesses of men and women of color. It’s a win-win!” she said.