By Karen Stokes
For three years, Yolanda Spears, CEO of YMYSPOT Clean Up, LLC, has been building up her cleaning business through hard work and attention to detail.
Her business is growing, and she needs funding to hire additional staff. To obtain information to help her growing company succeed, Spears attended the Small Business Administration (SBA) Lending Workshop.
The workshop held Thursday June 4 at the UWM-Extension Offices in the Plankinton Building was hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Moderated by Eric Ness, district director SBA, the event was geared toward promoting lending options to aspiring minority entrepreneurs and established small business owners by introducing them to various lending options and programs.
“I want to learn more about the process and what’s out there. That’s why I’m here,” said Spears.
Spears, along of people with a diversity of ideas, backgrounds, and ethnicities heard advice and information from business leaders. Some attended to see how to turn their dreams into a reality. Others, like Spears, are looking to grow their business.
The workshop began with a lunch and then a panel of lenders representing a variety of financial organizations, introduced their programs and answered questions.
Additionally, participants were invited to meet with the lenders following the panel discussion one-on-one to receive professional advice about their businesses.
The SBA coordinated with a group of nontraditional small business lending sources.
Attending the event were Evan Reed of Legacy Redevelopment Corporation, Mara Henningsen of Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, The African American Chamber of Commerce, Jorge Franco of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mike Phillips of Hmong Chamber of Commerce and more were among the lenders who specialized in non-traditional ending sources.
“This event is specifically geared to inform small, urban business owners about alternative sources of capital to start and grow their companies,” said Eric Ness in a press release.
“It’s a chance to talk with lenders and understand the preparation that’s needed to access credit and make connections to continue the discussion.”
This workshop occurred around the same time that a newly released report from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found that out of 50 states, Wisconsin ranks dead last for new business start-up activity.
The top five states were Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado and Vermont. The bottom five states were West Virginia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Wisconsin.
Last year, Wisconsin ranked 45th out of 50 states.
“It’s not an opinion that small businesses are a vital part of the American economy – it’s a powerfully backed fact. Small businesses employ half the workforce and create 60 percent of net new American jobs,” said Judy Hackett, chief marketing officer at Dun & Bradstreet.
Laura Schmitz, senior counselor Small Business Development Center, provides education for startups. She works with clients to develop plans for their businesses.
“Some people have ambition to start a business. Once they see the big picture, they change their mind,” said Schmitz.
Spears seems to see that big picture.
“If I don’t do a good job, it reflects on me. I don’t have time to play with dirt,” Spears said.
“Whatever I tell you I can do, I do it to the best of my ability. I need this information so I can work on my plan of action,” said Spears.
The SBA Lending Workshop is one of several taking place statewide this year.