How a nonprofit supported by U.S. Bank is helping women business owners

March 31, 2022
Angelica McClure, center, confers with Rocio Gonzalez, Women's Business Center of Charlotte’s executive director (right) and Linda Hughes, program director for WBCC (left).

The Women’s Business Center of Charlotte aims to empower female entrepreneurs by offering one-on-one counseling, feedback on business plans and much more.

Soon after starting up her own notary business last year, Angelica McClure heard about the Women’s Business Center of Charlotte through social media and checked out the nonprofit’s website.

McClure discovered numerous seminars for new business owners and signed up for “anything and everything” she could. She also applied for a free QuickBooks training course, sponsored by the U.S. Bank Foundation, that teaches business owners the ins and outs of the bookkeeping software.

“I was so excited when they sent me the notice that I was accepted into the class,” McClure said. “It’s really made a difference for my business.”

The Women’s Business Center of Charlotte (WBCC) is a nonprofit organization that helps women-owned businesses start and grow. It aims to empower women business owners by offering one-on-one counseling, seminars, feedback on business plans, loan preparation assistance, networking and much more. This assistance became even more important as small businesses battled the economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

McClure, a 32-year-old mother of two, grew up in Charlotte and worked in medical administration and customer service roles before deciding to take a community college course to become a notary, an official who verifies the signing of documents. She became the first person in her family to start a business.

“I definitely take pride in that,” she said. “I have to give myself a pat on the back.”

McClure said the two-month QuickBooks class, which was held virtually with about a dozen participants, helped jumpstart her business. The program taught her how to structure her finances, track payments and send invoices. She also was able to network with other business owners.

She is enjoying being a notary because she can help people, like in past customer service jobs, while getting a chance to be her own boss. “It’s something I can do for myself,” she said.

U.S. Bank teamed up with the Women’s Business Center of Charlotte as part of its efforts to provide more technical assistance and resources to support new and growing women-led businesses within the Charlotte area. It tapped the Foundation’s Community Possible Grant Program, which supports organizations that focus on economic and workforce advancement, safe and affordable housing and communities connected through arts and culture, to secure the necessary funding for this effort.

“At U.S. Bank, our purpose is to power human potential, which perfectly aligns with the mission of the Women’s Business Center of Charlotte,” said Jeff Gatica, U.S. Bank’s community affairs manager for Charlotte. “WBCC is helping women start new businesses and grow existing ones so they can reach their full potential.”

Over its five years, WBCC, a program of the National Institute of Minority Economic Development, has served more than 3,500 clients, helped 70 businesses get started, hosted 484 events and provided 81,243 training hours, among other accomplishments. With the support of U.S. Bank, it will hold another QuickBooks course this spring to help more entrepreneurs like McClure, said Rocio Gonzalez, WBCC’s executive director.

“We are very grateful,” she said, “that the program is having a positive impact on the lives and businesses of start-ups in our region

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