Lori Davis and her business, Mortarboard & Tassel Collegiate Consulting, LLC has relied heavily on face-to-face meetings since launching in 2018. Building personal relationships with customers has always been at the forefront in helping drive success.
As a business dedicated to assisting aspiring college students in pre-planning and navigating their upcoming journey or young professionals planning a career path, Davis has focused on meeting potential new clients at in-person career fairs and conferences. In such a niche market, Davis operated as a solo-entrepreneur.
“When COVID-19 hit and everything shut down, it felt like a ton of bricks on my shoulders. I needed to find a way to make my business presence virtual, something I had never focused on before.”
She’s not alone. A 2020 study revealed that the number of African-American business owners plummeted from 1.1 million in February 2020 to 640,000 in April. This same study disclosed that 95% of minority owned businesses were ineligible for PPP funding because they were one-person firms.
That’s why Kinetic Business by Windstream started the Black Business Support Fund to offer grants to Black-owned businesses. The goal is to increase the number and stability of Black-owned businesses in Kinetic’s 18-state footprint.
Davis’s business was a grant recipient of Kinetic’s Black Business Support Fund in Lexington, Kentucky. Davis has been working in the higher-education field since 2005, with experience from faculty member to leadership to government relations. “I’ve seen firsthand how first generation students sometimes struggle to navigate the business side of college or just need additional support.”
Davis says this grant will allow her to focus more on building her business while leaning on innovation and technology to help support her infrastructure. “I have really stepped into a new realm of learning how to manage social media and feel so blessed to have this grant help my business get back up and running.”
In addition to being a local business owner, Davis is also an attorney in Lexington. While her services focus mainly on helping those entering college, she also works in career coaching and with local nonprofit organizations that are educationally based or focused. “I am really very grateful for the fund. It has truly been a blessing for my business. Words cannot express how thankful I am for those who selected me, a solo-entrepreneur, and gave me an opportunity to further my business during COVID-19 and beyond.”
Businesses selected for the grant receive free Kinetic Business Internet for a year and a cash award up to $5,000. The businesses also receive a free business consultation from Kinetic Business on processes and products that could improve efficiencies and make their business more profitable.
Check back later this month for additional stories on Kinetic’s Black Business Support Fund recipients.