Loans granted to 17 businesses owned by black women

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By Mélanie Layden

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) – Seventeen black female business owners on Thursday secured loans to help their businesses grow during this difficult time.

Nashville nonprofit Corner to Corner created a pilot initiative called Academy Invested which has provided loans of up to $ 1,000 to qualifying businesses. They said lack of access to capital is a major challenge, especially for new businesses owned by black women in Nashville.

“Since we launched the Academy, which is our 10-week entrepreneurship program, we’ve helped over 434 black entrepreneurs,” said Shana Berkeley. “Our success spans the gamut from sideways bustle to full-fledged entrepreneurship.”

Over $ 10,000 was donated to help local business owners like Netiya Owens, owner of the Royal Massage and Yoga Lounge in Murfreesboro. Her studio is the only black-owned yoga studio in the Nashville area. Owens said the loan would help him advertise and market.

“As a new business owner, with the pandemic and everything, I’ve used up a lot of my income trying to keep up with everything that’s going on with the pandemic,” Owens said.

However, it is not only minority women that Corner to Corner helps.

Over the years, they have helped all kinds of people achieve their dreams and grow their businesses, just like Marcus Buggs, the owner of Coneheads.

“It was really good for me to make those connections and gain visibility for what I was doing,” Buggs said. “I lost count of the number of Corner to Corner events that led me to organize events that turned into recurring business that flourished in our restaurant here.”

Loans made on Thursday had a low interest rate of 1% for local entrepreneurs graduating from the Corner to Corner program.

Since its founding in 2016, the Academy has graduated more than 400 entrepreneurs, 88% of whom are black women.

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