While the official celebration of Black History Month is four weeks in February, FSC First applauds Black achievements every day. Home to one of a few Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in the country led by an African American, woman President and CEO, our commitment to equality is personal—and proven. Every loan prequalification that begins on our website and every grant awarded to a Black-owned business is a building block to a brighter future. Within Prince George’s County, 90% of local companies are small businesses—with an impressive percentage of Black-owned businesses among them. Helping existing and aspiring Black business owners achieve the capital, skills and connections for long-term growth is our passion project. A snapshot of our commitment follows:
Capital Drives Capabilities
Accessing capital is the top hurdle faced by Black entrepreneurs when launching or expanding businesses. To remove this obstacle, FSC First offers unique loan programs that support small and minority-owned businesses at every phase. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming, so our website application connects each applicant with a business development officer, who guides the process from start to finish. As a risk-tolerant lender, FSC First helps applicants identify and overcome any obstacles to funding, setting them up for long-term financial success. If entrepreneurs are eligible for funding sources available through our consortium of County, State and banking partners, we point applicants to those resources as well.
The Skills for Success
From developing a business plan to financing, marketing to hiring, entrepreneurship requires a broad range of skill sets. To position our minority-owned businesses for success, FSC First developed the Capital Matters program as an empowerment tool. This technical assistance program provides small businesses with mentorship, targeted support and clear pathways to capital. Details on upcoming sessions will soon be available on our Website.
A Circle of Support
FSC First customers access a circle of support, eliminating a hurdle that Black entrepreneurs sometimes encounter along the way. From the expert financial advisors on staff to the approachable educators in-house, FSC First goes the distance in pursuit of entrepreneurial dreams. Our local and state partner organizations, such as the Bowie Business Innovation Center (America’s first accelerator for minority government contractors), the Prince George’s Economic Development Corporation and the Maryland Women’s Business Center offer custom coaching, templates, workshops and networking opportunities that affirm the trajectory ahead. Visit our website for a full resource list.
Using history as a springboard, FSC First is helping to move Black entrepreneurs boldly ahead. Elevating diverse businesses demands real dialogue, support and effort. It’s a privilege to listen, learn and lead.