WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — About 200 Influencers, business owners and community members attended the Engagement and Inclusion Summit in early October at Bailey Power Plant in Innovation Quarter in Winston-Salem.
“We wanted to start having a conversation about economic disparity and how businesses owned by black, brown and women owners may be more challenged in the startup phase and longevity period than non-minority owned firms,” said Wilson Lester, executive director of Piedmont Business Capital (PBC).
This is the third year PBC has put on the Engagement and Inclusion Summit and the first time it’s been held in Winston-Salem.
“This year we really zeroed in on some of the systemic things that have challenged the growth of businesses in the black community,” said Lester. “We really tried to figure out how we could create innovation around injustice.”
PBC aims to create shared economic prosperity through equitable lending and investment.
“We look at the money that we put on the street as thread,” said Lester. “We feel like we can help mend some of the damage that has been done economically to the communities that we serve by putting our capital on the street in a responsible way for black and brown businesses.”
The Winston-Salem Foundation provided a grant to PBC to expand its services into Forsyth County-- meaning even more people will benefit from its services.
“It’s really a great partnership,” Lester said. “It underscores their commitment to put in a highlight on the things that need to happen in the black community in Winston-Salem.”