CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Alana Weaver Bennett is the co-owner of Party In A Tent.
“Transforming ordinary outdoor spaces into special event places through the rentals of tents tables chairs and more," Alana Weaver Bennett said.
It’s a new Charlotte business Weaver helped get off the ground back in 2017.
But like most businesses this pandemic, Weaver and her colleagues had to pivot due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Instead of having their employees gather inside for lunch or breaks we help them set up places where they can gather outside," Bennett said.
It’s an example of just one roadblock Weaver and seven other minority entrepreneurs are learning to get through to take their business to the next level with the help of NXT CLT.
“We have management education, we have market development and access to capital," NXT CLT Advisor Derrick Davis said.
NXT CLT is offering $15,000 with the help of the city to support those who are facing challenges launching or staying afloat.
It’s a new initiative to give back to minority businesses during this pandemic.
“We had a story of one lady who needed HR infrastructure so she was able to take a portion of her 15,000 to build out her HR infrastructure within her company," Davis said.
Davis said typical challenges for minority-owned businesses are lack of social capital and the absence of generational wealth.
The NXT CLT Advisor is hoping the new financial help and access to other resources will help close that gap.
“If we give you the plan, we need to give you the tools to implement the plan," Davis said.
Some tools that Party In A Tent are already taking advantage of.
“The CPA is helping us to reevaluate and restructure our business so that we minimize our tax liability and capitalize and create additional margin for the company," Bennett said.
Applications are being accepted until March 1, 2021, at 4 p.m.
Firms applying to NXT CLT must meet the following requirements:
- Ethnic minority business owner with 51% or greater ownership of the business
- $250,000+ in annual revenues
- One other employee beside the business owner(s)
- Been in business for at least 3+ years
- Must be headquartered in Charlotte