Business Access Advisors, part of U.S. Bank Access Commitment, are in nine geographic areas.
Starting a business from scratch is a daunting challenge -- and traditionally even more so for minority business owners, who face hurdles with access to capital, connections and information. A new initiative from U.S. Bank intends to change that as efforts to grow and expand upon U.S. Bank Access Commitment are underway.
Currently a pilot program, U.S. Bank Access Business is a collaborative approach between U.S. Bank business banking teams and partners in communities across the country to work alongside minority-owned businesses to address prominent gaps that limit business growth and employment opportunities. A signature component of Access Business is well underway with the hiring of nine new Business Access Advisors (BAA) who are strategically located across the country.
“We made some early investments in our U.S. Bank Access Commitment initiative, and this shows we are taking additional accountability to create a focused role to help develop minority-owned businesses,” said Eva Brown, U.S. Bank segment lead for minority and women-owned businesses.
The responsibilities of a BAA are to serve Black business owners as a trusted advisor, to expand networking and business development opportunities for Black business owners, and to provide business and consumer products that help strengthen both the financial profile of the business and its owner.
“We started with the Black community and intend for Access Business to expand to other diverse groups as well,” added Brown. The BAAs reside in the following geographic areas: Charlotte, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Denver, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Omaha, Oakland and the Twin Cities.
By the end of 2022, Brown said the goal is for all BAAs to build stronger relationships with people in the community, partly by completing growth plans and small business financial assessments. Each BAA started in their roles at a different time within a six-month period, but all are working toward the same goal: to help build minority wealth and have a multiplier effect on the broader community.
Tim Farrow began his role six months ago in the Twin Cities but has been with U.S. Bank for 10 years. As a BAA, he has already enjoyed working with many businesses in the community, including Eddie Boone, owner of Boone’s Quality Painting and Refinishing, who he helped enroll in a business fundamentals class with WomenVenture.
“Eddie was restarting his business after a brief break. After getting a holistic understanding of his business and goals, I was happy to make some introductions to community partners and leverage business development courses that will help him have a better understanding of how to operationally manage the business,” explained Farrow.
“Tim was able to connect me with credit resources and has helped me understand how to manage my business from an administrative standpoint,” said Boone. “Tim is an outstanding advisor and I've recommended a couple of my friends since I've been connected to him.”
With early successes such as this collaboration, Brown is optimistic and eager to see the BAA component of Access Business come to life.
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