Women's Business Development Council Works to Help Businesses During Pandemic

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The Women's Business Development Council prides itself on helping woman-owned and woman-of-color-owned businesses. The need for their services has grown tremendously since the start of the COVID19 pandemic.

"The very fabric and culture is at risk of disappearing because those Main Street businesses are owned and operated by women," said Fran Pastore, CEO of Women's Business Development Council.

Pastore is in charge of the WBDC and for the last 23 years, the organization has helped woman-owned and woman-of-color owned businesses who need some assistance.

"The businesses recognize what they don't know, they're honest and transparent with themselves and then they say 'I know how to do this but I don't know how to manage my financials, I don't know how to create a business plan," said Pastore.

During the first three months of the pandemic, the WBDC offered services to more than 3,500 people, with more than 90% of them being women.

"They've put me in contact with so many different resources," said Camille Boyd, owner of Cheshire business Take Back Your Power. "I've gotten counseling for financial for the PPP, I've gotten training courses online, zoom lives, and Instagram for Instagram stories."

Those opportunities are a couple of tools readily available for businesses, but now the focus is on providing WBDC businesses with the funding they need to survive.

"We just launched a micro-grant fund because businesses like Camille's and like many of the other brick and mortar businesses that we work with, they can't take on any more debt," said Pastore. "We need to include them with a seat at the table so that they can share with us and with people in positions in leadership what they need."

For more information about the WBDC, click here.

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