Wells Fargo Sponsors Scale DSM to Support Equal Access to Resources for Community Entrepreneurs
This article includes an interview with Laura Howe, Regional Banking Director at Wells Fargo, who answered questions about the Scale DSM Minority Business Accelerator:
1. How does Scale DSM align with Wells Fargo’s vision and mission?
Making sure our friends and neighbors have equal access to resources, services and opportunities to succeed is a priority for us at Wells Fargo. The entrepreneurs in the Scale DSM cohort are building businesses, and we admire their ingenuity and drive. We also recognize that with their success comes investment, jobs, and ultimately, improved well-being and quality of life in our communities. Scale DSM helps small business owners while also strengthening our community, and so we’re eager to support it.
2. What does this sponsorship mean to your team?
Our team is comprised of thousands of central Iowans. This is our home. Like all Iowans, we root hard for our local success stories. So, to be able to support a program like Scale DSM is something we are excited about.
3. How else does Wells Fargo assist diverse small businesses in the region?
This year, Wells Fargo donated $1 million in combined grants to the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families and Small Business Clinic at Drake University. Both these organizations are providing services to small businesses in communities of color.
In addition, the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund provides support to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) like Iowa Community Capital. Through its Solidarity Microfinance program, Iowa Community Capital grants small, collateral-free business loans to empower women and underserved communities.
Throughout Iowa, the Wells Fargo Foundation donated $200,000 to the 24/7 Black Leadership Advancement Consortium (BLAC), a Waterloo nonprofit with programs including a business accelerator program for black-owned businesses.
4. What portions of the program are you the most excited about?
The businesses in the Scale DSM cohort already have $150,000 to $4 million in annual revenue and are at least two years in business. There were already programs in place for helping entrepreneurs start new businesses, but the Greater Des Moines Partnership identified a need for a program that helped established diverse-led businesses reach the next stage of growth. I appreciate the thoughtful approach Juan Pablo Sanchez and the other leaders of The Partnership took in designing Scale DSM.
5. What are your hopes for the next Scale DSM cohort?
I hope that Scale DSM continues to grow as word spreads about the program and more partners get onboard. There’s a real opportunity here to support small businesses while also making DSM a more financially inclusive community.
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Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.