An Orange County church is working to help minority business owners get the tools they need to succeed.
“We’re getting by but we’re not getting ahead,” a Black business owner expressed to NBCLA in an interview. “We, as Black people, feel like we’re looking across the river at something that’s not attainable.”
Orange County’s largest African Methodist Episcopal Church, COR A.M.E., runs a six-week program that is working to change that.
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The free program, “Banking on Your Success,” is sponsored by COR A.M.E. Church as part of its non-profit Community Development Corporation. Organizers say that their goal is to give minority business owners the tools to get ahead, whether by helping them understand a profit and loss statement, learn about tax benefits, look for capital, or network.
“What we’re trying to do is help our minority business owners build a sustainable business where they can go back in their communities and create jobs,” Sedric Hill, the program's director, explained.
Since its launch in 2012, the entrepreneurship program has seen 15 new startups off the ground and helped nine business owners get loans, including Angela Chatterfield. Chatterfield owns Elite Med Listings, a virtual concierge program designed to do the front desk work for doctors whose patients pay in cash, like plastic surgeons and weight loss doctors.
“What COR really does is help us understand all the rules that apply to a business,” Chatterfield recalled of her time in the program. “And we have to follow those rules or we don’t get to play in the game, we have no seat at the table.”
Part of COR’s program includes a shark tank style pitch in which business owners submit their plans to actual banks and lenders. Through her pitch, Chatterfield won $1,500 and made a connection for a bank loan.
Church officials call the business owners they work with the faces of passion and drive. As they say, they are not searching for a hand out, but rather a hand up.
The non-profit program is looking for more volunteers. For more information on the program, please visit http://corcdc.org.