The WBENC June 2023 Financial Readiness Series has officially wrapped and proved to be a smash hit with our network! With over 750 in attendance and through 4 educational and engaging sessions, our WBEs and corporate members had the opportunity to learn more about access to capital and opportunities to do business in the financial services and insurance industry.
The June series sessions were hosted by industry-leading professionals in conjunction with a few of our amazing corporate partners at Bridge built by Citi, Wells Fargo, State Farm, and MassMutual.
Read on for a recap and the Top 10 Insights from the sessions below.
The WBE Financial Readiness series was the latest valuable education and networking offering from the WBENC LIFT Financial Center of Excellence, which is a continually growing component in how WBENC is equipping WBEs with professional development, knowledge, insights and connections to take their business to the next level.
Attendees of the June WBE Financial Readiness Series also unlocked access to the new WBENC eLearning platform, powered by Capital One, and the first two eLearning courses: LIFT 101 Business Owner Basics, brought to you by Capital One, and Enterprise Readiness for Corporate Contracting, brought to you by MassMutual.
About the Series Sessions
Session leaders from Bridge built by Citi kicked off Week 1 of the June 4-part series on Friday, June 9, with another informative session of “Access to Capital Fridays, brought to you by Bridge built by Citi” by sharing their expertise regarding how small business owners could identify and pursue capital that matched their business objectives, as well as how they could leverage alternative financing options from lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), or community banks.
The Week 2 session on June 15 continued the focus on access to capital, when Wells Fargo discussed a related capital topic, providing guidance around mergers and acquisitions (M&A), specifically how our WBEs could leverage M&A to grow and scale their business.
The second half of the series shifted gears to focus on the finance and insurance industries, with procurement leaders from State Farm shedding light in the Week 3 session June 22 on how technology trends are shaping the future of the insurance market, including big data, AI, and drones. Attendees learned how they could best position themselves to win contracts to supply these services to our corporate partners, including due diligence expectations, knowledge of current industry regulations, and understanding the current trends in the space.
In Week 4, the last session of the series and led by MassMutual June 26, attendees explored the significance of corporations working with diverse suppliers and the importance of creating equitable supply chains. Business owners learned the importance of safeguarding client information in being well-positioned to win a contract. An investment expert from MassMutual also shared how WBEs can position themselves for growth capital.
Top 10 Takeaways from the WBE Financial Readiness Series
The WBE Financial Readiness Series equipped WBEs with the tools and information necessary to continue along their financial journey and was a great opportunity to share corporate best practices with other corporate WBENC members. Below are just a few of the many key takeaways from this series that we encourage WBEs to take advantage of!
Access to Capital
1) Be familiar with the 8 Commercial Loan Documents That Lenders Ask For | Bridge built by Citi℠. Having them easily accessible better facilitates the loan review process.
2) Although CDFI and Community Banks often are chartered to serve their community or underrepresented owners, start-up funding is not always typical for a bank to loan. Do not be defeated if you apply for a loan and cannot obtain one as a start-up business. Look for alternative financing pathways through avenues such as bootstrapping, grants, pitch competition, friends, and family. Once your business is established (2 to 3 years of financials), CDFIs and Community Banks may be well positioned to support the next phase of your debt capital needs.
3) Consider M&A as a growth opportunity to expand your business’s geographic reach, grow your client list, and/or expand to new industries.
4) When speaking with anyone representing a potential source of capital, as the business owner, you need to have a strong command of the key financial numbers related to your business.
5) Having a vision of where you want your business to be in the next 1/5/10 years is key to your future success because it equips you as the business owner to better recognize and articulate the right type of capital need, at the right time.
Business Opportunities in the Financial Services and Insurance Industries
6) The type of service or product your company provides, and the potential risk associated with your service or product, will dictate the due diligence required of your company and the level of complexity in the contract.
7) Be prepared for corporations to invite your company into a due diligence process. Consult a trusted advisor such as an attorney when it is time to contract to ensure common understanding of risks, proactive risk mitigation actions, and performance expectations.
8) Tier 2 Suppliers are strategic to large financial corporations and thus could be a great opportunity for your business when a direct Tier 1 business relationship is not available.
9) Once you have a contract and have started to provide products or services to your client leverage quarterly or other time-bound business reviews as a terrific way to shine with your clients. Little things like having an organized agenda, sharing current business performance metrics, and identifying areas that could be improved go a long way in instilling confidence.
10) As a supplier to large corporations, your business has an opportunity to see how various parts of their business execute your contract. Helping corporations identify process gaps or opportunities for improvement and offering solutions to avoid or help manage these challenges has immense value.
- ARTICLE & VIDEOS | Insights from Rohit Mathur, Co-founder and Director, Bridge built by Citi
- ARTICLE | The power of M&A to drive business growth, insights from Wells Fargo
- VIDEO | Insights on what to expect in the contracting process with State Farm
- VIDEO | Increase your understanding on how to secure the future of your business with MassMutual
The WBENC LIFT Financial Center of Excellence is an integrated education and funding program for women entrepreneurs to provide comprehensive financial support and resources, including education, coaching, networking and funding opportunities. Stay tuned for much more as this area of WBENC professional development and resources expands, providing ever-increasing opportunities for WBEs to access capital and grow strategically. Learn more about WBENC LIFT Financial Center of Excellence here.