By Clare Bratten
NASHVILLE, TN — If you run a minority owned business and have been affected by the pandemic, the Nashville Business Incubation Center (NBIC) can help you transform more of your business into social media and digital platforms. The goal is to help businesses market and move parts of their business online so they can prosper through the pandemic and beyond. NBIC is accepting applications for the next cohort through December.
Angela Crane-Jones is the CEO of the Nashville Business Incubation Center which has been around for four years and is able to cite some impressive success stories of businesses already launched and helped by the NBIC.
“Slim and Husky’s and Christie’s Cookies are graduates of our program – we’ve been doing it a long time – most people cannot afford our services,” Crane-Jones said.
“When we came into the pandemic, many of us have been zooming and using cloud based everything and so we designed a program to work with clients on the digital side [of their business],” said Crane-Jones.
“We’re teaching them how to do targeted ads, how to do social media, helping them create a digital strategy. Thankfully, with the amount of money we received from the Frist Foundation, we have labs for people who we can walk them through this if it’s not their strength.”
Any minority owned business that’s been affected by the covid-19 pandemic can apply for the help. “We just want to be able to help and make sure minority businesses are able to survive. If you have a restaurant, you can offer curbside service — but if you don’t have online capabilities, there’s only so much bandwidth on the phone and if you are short staffed.”
“What we do at NBIC is make sure they have a financial foundation, IT contingency plans and systems in place. We’re making sure that they survive and that’s what we’ve been doing for our clients,” said Crane-Jones.
The $150,000 in grant money to NBIC to help minority owned businesses increase their online capabilities comes from The Frist Foundation.
If you are a business owner and want to apply for the program to digitize your business – the application form can be found on the NBIC website at www.nbiconline.com/groundwork. The deadline to apply is January 5th. Applicants are encouraged to apply early. At the time they go online apply, they will need to be ready to provide tax records as part of the application. The fee is a sliding fee based on income.
“What we see is that when people are starting a business, they don’t know how to get the right tools, how far out to plan, or how to make it into a growth model. So, we are helping them to be working on the business and not in the business so much. That’s what makes us different–we’re in the business of making these clients sustainable and that can weather the storm.”