& SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT
Wilmington Alliance collaborates with multiple partners to support entrepreneurs in the city and reduce barriers many marginalized small business owners face on their path to success. In August 2020, the City of Wilmington joined the National League of Cities’ City Inclusive Entrepreneurship Network (NLC CIE). Wilmington Alliance has been the lead agency responsible for working with the city administration and other partners to execute on the work related to the implementation of 13 milestones outlined by the NLC CIE, as key components of an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem..
In partnership with Riverfront Ministries, we opened the first commissary kitchen in Wilmington, in January 2022. This serves culinary entrepreneurs from marginalized communities by providing a low-cost, commercial kitchen for use. Members work to move from informal to formal businesses and are guided through all certifications, as we help to remove the financial barriers by covering the initial costs of licensures and permits. Members also receive training, access to workshops and opportunities to apply for direct financial supports, that allows them to expand and grow, while working with our community partners to develop business plans. A second kitchen opened in late 2022 and we have plans to open a third location in 2023 to address the great need from culinary businesses in the city.
In 2020 through the WilmingtonMADE campaign, we created an online directory of Wilmington small businesses, to promote a “shop local” movement for those that were suffering during the pandemic. This campaign has utilized features in print, social media, direct mailers, billboards, and other promotions to advertise many local businesses. To further assist local entrepreneurs with marketing supports, vital for growth, we have committed to providing selected small businesses with services such as professional photography, video advertisements, social media setup and website design. In addition, we will also provide supports such as accounting, establishing standard operating procedures and human resource management for a select number of small businesses. Business owners who apply and are approved are matched with contracted vendors to provide these services, free of charge.
In response to COVID-19, we partnered with Cornerstone West CDC to offer small grants to small businesses in Wilmington, beginning in 2020. Due to the ongoing need of the community, we have continued to provide these microgrants which are designed for expenses such as rent, utilities and supplier bills. Recipients can also apply for additional support for external improvements, equipment upgrades or marketing support.
Kiva Delaware was launched in May of 2022, through a partnership between Cornerstone West CDC and Wilmington Alliance, as a Hub of Kiva US. Through a relationship with Kiva US, our Hub employs a Capital Access Manager (CAM), who is trained by Kiva on how to share loan opportunities with entrepreneurs and local stakeholders. Kiva US is a national expert in providing small 0% interest loans that support credit building. Microloans range from $1,000-$15,000.
In partnership with the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation, we provide support to Wilmington-based Black/Brown entrepreneurs through Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Wilmington (E3 Wilmington).
For more information on these initiatives and to visit the program websites,
please visit the links below or on the drop down menu