QUESTION: What is the best way to furnish 6,000 square feet of office space when you are a newly formed non-profit with an opportunity to provide office space, mentoring and education to women business owners, but have not yet received any grants or donations?
ANSWER: One suite at a time through the generosity of a NAWBO member who owns a commercial business interiors company.
Just last month, Mary McCarthy and Caroline Worley, both members of the NAWBO® Columbus chapter in Ohio co-founded the Women's Small Business Accelerator, Inc. (WSBA), the first-of-its-kind incubator-type organization focused on female-based businesses. "I have had dream for many years to launch something like this to support women-owned small businesses," says Mary McCarthy, who also is co-owner of Your Management Team, Inc., a small-business consulting and mentoring company. "Luckily, Caroline shares that same vision." Caroline owns Worley Law, LLC, a law firm that helps small businesses navigate the legal and regulatory requirements of launching and operating.
It just so happened that another NAWBO Columbus member believed in the mission of the WSBA, too—Darla King, President and CEO of King Business Interiors, a commercial contract office furniture business. When Darla heard about the WSBA, she reached out to Mary and Caroline and told them about her company's "Connecting the Dots" program where non-profits can get free, reusable office furniture to use in fulfilling their missions. "Without Darla's generosity, we would not be able to have our first suite of offices stocked with quality desks, chairs and other furniture customarily found in corporate offices. The generosity of Darla, King Business Interiors, and the "Connecting the Dots" program has enabled us to present our first seven offices to prospective tenants and women business owners," notes Mary. As of today, three of the seven offices in the first section are now occupied. With the continued assistance of Darla and other generous supporters, the WSBA will be able to continue preparing the remaining 25-plus office spaces in the three remaining suites. "However, without the opportunity of NAWBO," notes Caroline, "the three of us would not have come together to build this opportunity that will end up supporting hundreds, if not thousands, of women business owners." Darla's generous donations are valued so far at more than $20,000.