For the past four weeks, Henry Williams Love has been running a micro pilot program for 10 Black Businesses in the midwest thanks to grant funding received by the Hennessy Unfinished Business Grant Program. Hennessy provided $1,500 and Henry Williams Love Foundation contributed $1,000 to ensure every business in this pilot would have access to $250 cash. One Hundred Black Men, Inc. acted as the fiscal agent as part of the advisory council for the grant. All of the in-kind supportive services being provided to these businesses are valued at $3,000. So the total cost of this micro pilot is actually $32,500.
Participating business completed a pre-consultation survey and were asked to identify one thing outside of funding/revenue that could help their business. Each business received a one-hour consulting call to identify an area of improvement and $250 to address that area. Each business then received a follow-up correspondence listing up to four recommendations to improve their business infrastructure. For example, Markell Thompson has always loved cooking, but COVID-19 presented an opportunity for him to launch Chef Kells Kitchen, LLC, a home delivery meal service business.
Chef Kells Kitchen has some buzz on Facebook, but Markell felt like he was not marketing or advertising enough, nor did he have the time to between cooking and making deliveries. Many small businesses, especially newly launched businesses struggle in this area when there is only one person running the business.
Through his consulting session, Markell received:
- Coaching and resources on automating his ordering directly through a free Facebook app that will save him time on the phone and text messages.
- A free auto-scheduler for social media posts including the posting of menus.
- ServSafe Managers certificate testing.
- One hour with a storytelling coach to help him better target his market and create further appetite for his food.
The micro pilot is a short-term triage ready approach to small businesses to give them a bit of support as they continue to develop their business plan and strategy. All ten businesses participating in this pilot will receive coaching and mentorship for 3 months. HWLF implemented this micro pilot as an opportunity to inform our larger Black Business Incubation program and ensure several points of entry for Black businesses at different stages. Micro pilot participants will receive supportive services to address one business issue for three months. Full Service Suite participants will receive supportive services for up to 12 months.
One of the guiding principles of Black Business Incubation is creating a safe space to ideate, learn, network, and co-work in a welcoming, non-judgmental and trauma-informed environment. HWLF understands the impact systematic racism, racial injustice, and deep financial disinvestment have on Black Businesses. The “doing more with even less than less” adage is a common theme among Black Businesses whether for-profit or non-profit. Participation in this micro pilot is not the complete answer, but certainly is a viable solution that can be sustained with resources. HWLF is actively fundraising and seeking funding partnerships to support the activities under the Black Business Incubation program. Individual donations to support can be made directly here: Support Henry Williams Love Foundation.
Interested in participating in the Black Business Incubation Program?
Complete this interest form: HTTP://BIT.LY/BLACKBUSINESSINTEREST.
Please contact us for any questions about the Black Business Incubation program.