Nashville, TN (TN Tribune) ─ Truist Foundation today announced a $1.25 million commitment to the Nashville Business Incubation Center (NBIC), a nonprofit focused on cultivating the growth and development of local women-, racially and ethnically diverse-, and veteran-owned small businesses. Specifically, the grant will provide tools, training, mentorships, and curriculum support to NBIC’s RISE UP Academy, which works directly with women-owned businesses. This grant will also support NBIC’s expansion to Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama; Louisville, Kentucky; and other rural communities in Tennessee.

At the National Museum of African American Music, Truist Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers, President of Truist Foundation Lynette Bell, and Truist Tennessee Regional President Johnny B. Moore Jr. joined Angela Crane-Jones, CEO of NBIC, and Nashville Mayor John Cooper to introduce a panel conversation on how the grant will provide critical support for small business growth in Nashville. In addition, the panel also addressed the area’s overall economic recovery given the impact of the pandemic and the March 2020 tornados that severely damaged portions of the city and Middle Tennessee.

“Truist Foundation is committed to generating systemic change to support small business owners from underserved communities,” said Bell. “The work of NBIC provides essential training and ongoing support, especially to women entrepreneurs, creating opportunities for underserviced communities in Nashville.”

The $1.25 million grant is part of Truist’s recent announcement to commit $120 million to strengthen and support small businesses nationally, with a focus on women and diverse business owners.

“According to 2019 report, women are the fastest growing group of individuals starting businesses. However, Black women were earning an average revenue of just $24,000, compared to $142,900 among all women-owned businesses,” said Crane-Jones. “Truist Foundation’s investment will allow us to support the equitable growth of minority women-owned businesses via programs to open doors to generating more revenue and job creation to help narrow that wealth gap.” 

Truist has a longstanding commitment to supporting Nashville, including providing $1.1 million in charitable giving, lending and grants from Truist Foundation and Truist Charitable Fund in 2021. Truist and Truist Foundation have partnered with a number of Nashville-focused nonprofits including the Tennessee Affordable Housing Coalition, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville, the YMCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Project Return and the Nashville Boys and Girls Club among others to help address affordable housing, support inclusive economic mobility and workforce preparedness across the region.

“Small businesses are a cornerstone of Nashville’s economy so it’s critical that we invest in their success,” said Moore. “Our partnership with NBIC strengthens the opportunities for women and minority entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, and it’s how we fulfill Truist’s purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities.”