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Benedict College Women’s Business Center Receives a $100,000 Grant from the Truist Foundation to Reach Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Women Business Owners in South Carolina

Columbia, SC, December 3, 2021 – The Benedict College Women’s Business Center (WBC) announced today it received a $100,000 grant from the Truist Foundation to assist with the implementation of the Benedict College WBC Mobile and Creative Entrepreneurial Demonstration (MCED) Project, a new initiative designed to reach socially and economically disadvantaged women business owners in targeted rural areas of Allendale County, Bamberg County, the City of North Charleston, Clarendon County, Dillion County, and Lee County.

“Equality for women entrepreneurs will only materialize when they are able to enjoy equal access to the same affordable financing mechanisms as men, including equal access to markets, information, digital technology, and services,” stated Dr. Roslyn Artis, President of Benedict College.  “We appreciate the financial investment of Truist in MCED and partnership in ensuring that minority women business owners in these rural areas have the tools and resources that they need to both grow and sustain their businesses.”

As a result of this funding and previous funding awarded to support MCED by the U.S. Small Business Administration Resiliency and Recovery Demonstration program, the Benedict College WBC is well positioned to build a strong base for future economic opportunities for women in the state of South Carolina, particularly in rural and marginalized communities.

“Recent studies estimate that 42% of African American businesses were forced to close in August 2020. Many the businesses forced to close were owned by women of color due to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19,” said Ms. Cheryl Salley, Director of the Benedict College WBC. “We are grateful to receive funding from Truist to assist small, minority women-owned businesses in re-tooling and pivoting their business models, thus enabling them to build resilient systems, networks, and mitigation strategies to acclimate to industry changes because of COVID-19.”

“Helping entrepreneurs navigate a frequently evolving business landscape not only supports their company, it creates stability for employees and their families, and strengthens communities,” said Mike Brenan, South Carolina, regional president for Truist, speaking on behalf of the Truist Foundation. “With this grant, we have the opportunity to inspire and build better lives and communities by empowering Benedict College Women’s Business Center to help more minority women-owned businesses increase their resiliency and uncover new opportunities to grow and thrive.”

MCED will consist of the Benedict College WBC Rural Mobile Initiative and the Benedict College Benedict College WBC Creative Entrepreneur Initiative. 

The Benedict College WBC Rural Mobile Initiative will expand the reach of the Benedict College WBC in the cultivation of minority women owned business enterprises in becoming sustainable, economic engines for South Carolina and the nation. To build upon these innovative practices, MCED will provide critical business support in remote areas through the launch of the Benedict College WBC Mobile Unit funded by The Boeing Company.   The state-of-the-art mobile office unit is scheduled to launch next spring and will be staffed with experienced business advisors.  The unit will be equipped with seven computer training stations, smart boards and wi-fi access. The Benedict College WBC will continue its focused support of Benedict College WBC clients across the state using online tools and business development curriculum and trainings in emergency preparedness and recovery, bonding, and contract readiness.

To build upon the new programs offered by Benedict College in the areas of music and entrepreneurship, the Benedict College WBC Creative Entrepreneur Initiative. This initiative will support minority women visual and performing artists, authors, vocalist, musicians, and other creative entrepreneurs.  Though this collaboration, MCED will target and reach minority women entrepreneurs through two, six-week virtual sessions designed to develop clients understanding of business concepts and strategies, explain business models for artist-entrepreneurs, and engage clients in discussions on creative funding, start-up, grants, sales, and resource attainment.  The first session is scheduled to start in February 2022.

The Benedict College Women’s Business Center was launched in September of 2020 and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. If you are a small business located in the MCED targeted area, please contact the BC WBC at 803-705-4641, or email the Center at info@bcwbc.org.   To learn more about the services offered by the BC WBC, please visit www.bcwbc.org.  

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About Benedict College Women’s Business Center

The mission of the Benedict College Women’s Business Center (BC WBC) is to support economic prosperity for minority women and strengthen communities through entrepreneurial and financial education services that create and grow sustainable jobs and businesses across South Carolina.  As a designated Women’s Business Center by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the BC WBC is tasked with create a gateway out of poverty for socially and economically disadvantaged women entrepreneurs by starting, growing and expanding their businesses.  Services offered include one-on-one business consulting, education and training, business plan assistance, technical assistance, financial management, networking, and contracting and certification preparation.

About the Truist Foundation

The Truist Foundation is committed to Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Established in 2020, the foundation makes strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. The Truist Foundation’s grants and activities focus on building career pathways to economic mobility and strengthening small businesses. Learn more at Truist.com/Foundation

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