KTVI (Fox2 News) report about the Business Development Center
Better Family Life, Inc. has opened a new Business Development Center to support people who want to start a small to mid-size business or get help with an existing business. The Center specializes in working with disadvantaged, minority and women entrepreneurs, including Missouri Workforce Assistance (MWA, previously known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF) customers.
Carrollton Bank and Better Family Life. have also partnered to introduce the Better Family Life Micro Loan Fund, which will provide loans from $500 to $5000 to new and existing businesses and startups in the St. Louis community. Carrollton Bank is funding the Better Family Life Micro Loan Fund with $50,000.
“We are excited to add this new component to our programs,” said Malik Ahmed, CEO of Better Family Life. “For many years we’ve helped our clients find their place in the workforce; but many of them yearn to start their own businesses. This program and funding will provide them with the training and the resources they need to do that.”
“Small businesses are vital to helping communities grow stronger,” said Darryl Tyler, a Commercial Banking Officer with Carrollton Bank. “As startups, most of these businesses would not ordinarily be considered by banks for loans. But with a program like this, we can take a little money and make a big difference.”
How the Micro Loan Fund Works
Micro loans will be made available to individuals and businesses participating in the Better Family Life Entrepreneurial Training managed by CAAAB at the Better Family Life Cultural, Education and Business Center, which is in North St. Louis City.
The funds can be used for basic startup capital, lines of credit and all specific and evaluated business reasons. Loans will be available to borrow from beginning on January 1st. Loan applications will be reviewed by a committee that includes BFL, Carrollton Bank and other program partners.
To learn more about the Business Development Center, call us at 314.367.3440 ext. 106 or click here to email our Development Director and Entrepreneurship Specialist Neelu Panth.
How the Entrepreneurial Training and Support Program Works
The Center offers classes and one-on-one coaching on everything from business plan development, marketing, affordable loans and financial assistance, product development, consumer research and business expansion.
Participants in the Better Family Life Entrepreneurial Training and Support Program take an intensive weeklong workshop covering the critical aspects of business ownership, including sales, marketing, accounting and more. This is followed by a six-week mentorship program where participants work one-on-one with a business coach and attend business workshops. They complete business plans and determine their financial needs. To increase the likelihood of long-term success, participants get ongoing access to experts and mentors through the program.
The Center is managed by CAAAB (the Center for the Acceleration of African American Business). Services are also provided by BFL and other partners, including Washington University Brown School of Social Work and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.
The Better Family Life Business Development Center was created in part by a $500,000 grant from the Community Development Agency. The Center comprises the third floor of The Better Family Life Cultural, Education and Business Center.
Part of Revitalizing North St. Louis
The Better Family Life Business Development Center is part of BFL’s plan to revitalize North St. Louis with its Page Corridor Redevelopment Plan, which includes a $20 million housing renovation project. BFL is redeveloping 100 homes on Page Boulevard.
“Investing in Page Boulevard is key to creating important economic and social change in North St. Louis,” Ahmed said. BFL hopes the BFL Entrepreneurial Training and Support Program will spur more businesses to open and thrive in the Page Corridor area and attract new business into the area, including grocery stores, art galleries and additional new residential construction.