LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- MatchBOX Coworking Studio in Lafayette is doing its part to help minority owned businesses. They created a program called Spark 2021. The program will start in January and last the entire year. It will help minority businesses that already exist grow, and help people with ideas get their business off the ground. One way they are doing so is by pairing them with mentors. One of those mentors is Nickey Ramsey the Founder of Junobie.
Junobie is a reusable breast milk bag. Ramsey got the idea to create one when she herself started breastfeeding. She felt like she was throwing bags away too often and creating too much waste. She started her businesses at MatchBOX Coworking Studio and now distributes her product internationally, they can also be found on Amazon. She feels this program will set business owners up for success.
“We are going to see them how to succeed,” added Ramsey. “We will connect them with resources and give them the tools they need to succeed.”
Focusing on minority-owned businesses is something MatchBOX wanted to make a priority. So, it came up with a plan on how to do it on its yearly retreat.
“As an organization that is actually a bunch of white people we knew that we didn’t have that experience personally,” said Juliana Casavan the Operations Manager at MatchBOX. “We knew we needed to learn more about it.”
That’s why the organization brought in current minority business owners like Ramsey to act as mentors for entrepreneurs.
“We want to help people of color and women of color to navigate a lot of those pitfalls they may experience,” said Ramsey.
Another way that MatchBOX is doing that is by offering the opportunity for micro-grants.
“For a lot of local small based businesses or businesses that are just getting started in the community, it’s not like they need 100,000 dollars to get started they may just need 5,000 dollars,” said Casavan.
Those micro-grants are something Ramsey says can be exactly what some minority businesses owners will need to make their dream a reality.
“The spark program is going to help not only shine a light on black businesses but it’s going to give those black business owners the confidence that they need to know that they can succeed,” added Ramsey.
Applicants who are selected will also receive a 1-year membership to MatchBOX so they have a place to get their businesses started. 10 applicants will be selected and applications are due by December 11th. To apply click here.