Financial literacy is a skill that has tangible benefits for business owners at all stages of their careers. April is Financial Literacy Month, but the FSC First team and our partners work together to help entrepreneurs cultivate these skills all year long.

One of our programs, Level Up, is specifically designed to help small and minority business owners gain access to capital and educational opportunities. In partnership with organizations throughout Prince George’s County and Maryland, Level Up seeks to help program participants build their business acumen and assets.

Level Up Manager Yakita Wilkinson says that the FSC First team and partners work hard to tailor programming to what will benefit business owners the most. During a recent focus group, Wilkinson says those participating asked questions about available resources and how to access them, best practices for managing cash flow, tax preparation, and cybersecurity.

“These questions help FSC First and our partners understand and determine the best programs for Level Up participants,” says Wilkinson. “We use their input to help attendees get the most out of their experience.”

Many Level Up programs, like Capital Matters, teach entrepreneurs how to develop a strong business plan and secure loans. Individual coaching is also available, enabling enrollees to delve even further into their specific needs. FSC First and its partners strive to offer “a menu with something for everyone through Level Up,” says Wilkinson.

Wilkinson states that having a good grasp of financial literacy is helpful for both personal and professional purposes.

“A lot of Level Up programming speaks to personal finances and business finances and how to best separate the two,” says Wilkinson. “During tax preparation, business owners are asked for both personal and business finances. Our coaches are great resources for in-depth questions like these.”

One partner in the Level Up program is the Financial Empowerment Center at Prince George’s Community College (the Center). Program Director Heath Carelock says that a solid grasp of financial literacy benefits both new and established small businesses.

“With strong financial literacy skills, business owners can create a strong value proposition that generates demand and revenue, plan effectively by reviewing target audiences and customer bases, understand how to save and spend strategically, and know how to leverage debt to grow their business,” says Carelock. “Additionally, knowing the basics of investment can also help business owners leverage their personal finance and financial literacy to build a stronger business outfit and mindset.”

In addition to building financial literacy, Carelock says participating in Level Up programs offered by the Center can help participants connect with campus staff and advance their education.

“Our partnership has allowed the Financial Empowerment Center at PGCC to take its business education processes more seriously and to offer one-on-one business services from highly qualified business experts,” says Carelock. “The partnership has also enabled the Center to focus on business credit and business management from a startup lens and to provide resources and financing options for available business opportunities. Through this partnership, the Financial Empowerment Center at PGCC can enhance financial literacy in the community by providing targeted and specialized resources and support to small business owners.”

“FSC First is dedicated to helping small businesses grow, and Level Up is one of our primary means of connecting entrepreneurs with the right resources and educational opportunities,” says FSC First Chief Financial Officer Beverly Everson-Jones. “Our partnerships with great institutions like the Financial Empowerment Center at Prince George’s Community College allow us to help business owners build their financial literacy skills, and in turn achieve success.”

For more information on Level Up and to learn more about upcoming programs, visit our program page.



Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and important updates from the FSC First team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!