Our programs that provide coaching and access to flexible financing to aspiring women entrepreneurs in the Port City got a $20,000 boost on Thursday. Representatives from Bank OZK presented Carolina Small Business Development Fund with a big check representing their investment at a ceremony held at the YWCA Lower Cape Fear in downtown Wilmington.
The funds will support Carolina Small Business’ outreach initiatives statewide, including the work of Coastal Women’s Ventures in partnership with the YWCA Lower Cape Fear.
“We are thrilled to have the support of Bank OZK for our work supporting small business owners, particularly women entrepreneurs,” said Lenwood V. Long, President and CEO of Carolina Small Business. “This money will help us provide essential resources like business services to women-owned small businesses in the YWCA service area.”
The missions of Carolina Small Business and the YWCA Lower Cape Fear dovetail, which was the basis for joining forces to launch Coastal Women’s Ventures in 2018.
“Coastal Women’s Ventures addresses the needs of Wilmington women and minority entrepreneurs so that these sectors can become economically self-sufficient,” said Charrise Hart, YWCA Lower Cape Fear CEO. “We believe when women are empowered to achieve economic self-sufficiency, communities thrive. With this generous support, we will continue to promote entrepreneurial efforts of women in Wilmington.”
The $20,000 investment from Bank OZK will fuel outreach by Coastal Women’s Ventures to promote small business ownership among women in Wilmington and beyond.
“Bank OZK believes in building community, one relationship at a time,” said Terri Guthrie, President-North Carolina Division of Bank OZK. “Supporting the vibrant small business community in the Carolinas results in a strengthening of our economy and provides unique local goods and services. This partnership between Bank OZK and the Carolina Small Business Development Fund represents our commitment to support the dreams and efforts of small businesses in Wilmington.”
Carolina Small Business fosters economic development in underserved communities through access to capital, business services and policy research. Since 2010, the nonprofit CDFI has invested more than $57.8 million through 700 loans to small businesses across North Carolina helping to create or retain more than 2,574 jobs.
YWCA Lower Cape Fear is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen our community. YWCA Lower Cape Fear has a 104-year history in Wilmington and is part of an international movement serving over 2 million in the United States and 25 million worldwide. For comprehensive information about this important work, visit ywca-lowercapefear.org.
Bank OZK’s roots are steeped in more than a century of tradition, originating as a small community bank in Jasper, Arkansas. Today the bank has grown to more than 250 offices in ten states, where it makes strategic investments in community development to build stronger communities where it does business.
:] Representatives of Bank OZK, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Coastal Women’s Ventures, YWCA Lower Cape Fear, and the Wilmington City Council hold up the big check representing the community partnership. Pictured from Left: Joe Carroll, Carol Kennedy, Clifford Barnett, Terrie Guthrie, Joy Ellington, Joe Battle, Acquinetta Beatty, and Charrise Hart.