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March 28
Three women entrepreneurs who broke the $500k revenue barrier premium

Women are founding businesses at unprecedented rates – 2.5 times the national average according to the National Women’s Business Council. Still, women-owned businesses have a lot of ground to make up in order to gain an equal footing with their peers. Although women-owned businesses made up 36 percent of the country’s businesses in 2012, they accounted for just four percent of revenues and seven percent of private sector employment. A 2013 report issued by the Small Business Administration found that the major constraint limiting the growth of small businesses, especially women and minority-owned businesses, is inadequate access to financing.

4 in 10

Source: Womenable State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express OPEN

In the U.S., firms with $500,000 or more in revenues represent just 9 percent of all businesses but contribute 91 percent of all private sector employment and 96 percent of all business revenue in the nation’s economy. Among women-owned …

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March 17
BREW MEETS BISCUIT ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY premium

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You might know that St. Patrick’s Day honors Ireland’s patron saint, but you might not realize that an American craft beer, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, is one of the most popular pints raised on St. Patrick’s Day each year.

New York City’s Field & Clover, an Accion Client and participant in the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program, created St. Patrick’s Day Boston Lager Biscuits to honor the holiday. These beer infused biscuits put an Irish twist on a classic American comfort food. The collaboration generated interest in the media, and Field & Clover founder Annie Etheridge had the opportunity to discuss with the New York Business Journal and Metro New York.

About the St. Patrick’s Boston Lager Biscuit:

  • Caraway seeds evoke Irish soda bread, a St. Paddy’s standby, while Irish cheddar adds a sharp, uniquely Irish kick.
  • Want to send biscuits to friends and
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February 27
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: DAVID MARTIN, FAMILY VISION DEVELOPMENT CENTER premium

DavidMartinDr. David Martin knows that vision plays a significant role in human development and learning and that detection of vision problems must start at an early age. In 2010, he established Family Vision Development Center, which provides vision therapy and neuro-developmental vision rehabilitation in Aurora, Illinois. His practice specializes in providing eye care for children who exhibit developmental lapses due to vision problems as well as people in need of eye care therapy as a result of sports-related injuries and trauma.

“There is a significant need for these services
in the community I serve. Because of this, I
can give back and support the local
community and businesses.”
~ David Martin

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February 25
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: CHANDLER BOLT, SELF-PUBLISHING SCHOOL premium

ChandlerChandler Bolt is a five-time bestselling author and business owner with an unconventional background. He’s been an entrepreneur since he was a young boy, selling his personal snacks for a profit at Boy Scout Camp. As a teen, he started a landscaping and pressure washing business where he employed friends for summer jobs. As a Business Administration student in his home state of South Carolina, Chandler worked for Student Painters, a student led company. He developed and managed his own team and earned more than $100,000 in revenue in less than a year. His savvy methods were noticed, and he was awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year,” as well as “Marketer of the Year” and his team earned the “Top Quality Award” for the entire company.

“Helping people never gets old.”
~ Chandler Bolt

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February 22
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: BRETT WEISS, SAN DIEGO premium

ScandiegoFor people who own boxes of old photos, home movies, and slides that became inaccessible in the digital age, Brett Weiss can help. Weiss, owner of ScanDiego in San Diego, provides digitalization services for a variety of print media so people can revive their old memories in a new format to enjoy for years to come. Brett’s vision for his company is to embrace the future while honoring the past.

After more than 20 years as an entrepreneur in diverse industries including dry cleaning and importing, Brett worked at a scanning company when he was inspired to start his own business, which became ScanDiego. As his business grew and he needed to rent a bigger space, a local bank introduced Brett to Accion and he received a $50,000 loan.

The loan was made possible with support from The Hartford through its Communities with HART program, which supports entrepreneurs like Brett …

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February 21
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: ANDRE KREFT, SAVOR FINE FOODS premium

AndreKreftAndre Kreft lived and worked as a visual artist in Oakland, California for most of his career. He moved back to his native Waterbury, Connecticut after he began losing his sight and learning his mother was ill and in need of support. After losing both his mother and his partner to cancer within a short time period, Andre felt he needed to do something he loved and started his second act as an entrepreneur to help him work through that difficult time nearly six years ago. It was then that he decided to tap into his passion for baking and start his cookie company, Savor Fine Foods.

“I would not be who I am
if it were not for those around me.”
~ Andre Kreft

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February 19
Accion Fast Track Program graduates share in successes and learning premium

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Seventeen business owners from across the country convened in New York City on Thursday to graduate from this year’s Fast Track program. Fast Track is made possible by Accion’s partnership with Capital One and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and provides a select group of 26 Accion clients with intensive business training, coaching and mentoring to accelerate their business growth. The curriculum included a two-day in-person intensive training session at the beginning of the program, 20 virtual coaching sessions provided by People Biz, Inc. and mentorship pairing through BusinessAdvising.org. The culminating event of the Fast Track program brought participants together with the broader Accion community to share learnings and hear from experts such as the event’s keynote speaker, urban revitalization strategy consultant Majora Carter.

Fast Track participants represent a range of industries and include a female owned and operated Denver construction company, a New York gin distilling company, …

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February 19
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: MARIEL COTA, SAN DIEGO FLOWER SOLUTIONS premium

SanDiegoFlowerSolutionsMariel Cota began her journey toward becoming a successful entrepreneur 18 years ago when she started a home-based flower and balloon arrangement business in Mexico to help her neighbors celebrate festive occasions like quinceaneras and weddings. Surviving domestic abuse and becoming a mentor for other victims has made her much more than an entrepreneur however, providing her with a passion and purpose to help others in her community.…

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February 17
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: MELISSA AND JOSEPH BASILONE, THRIFT & THRIVE, INC. premium

Thrift&ThriveAfter seeing an economic downfall in their Portage Park, Chicago neighborhood in 2011, Joseph and Melissa Basilone opened Thrift & Thrive, a resale shop that provides the community with access to a curated selection of high quality goods at affordable prices. The couple feels that by reusing and recycling, people have an opportunity to decrease their spending, have a greater appreciation for their possessions, and in general have a tendency to thrive. The majority of the shop’s merchandise comes from the very neighborhood it goes back to, increasing prosperity while decreasing landfill waste.

“We are absolutely ‘all-in’ when it comes to
revitalizing our neighborhood.”
~ Joseph Basilone

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February 15
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: NELSON PIZARRO AND NELSON PIZARRO JR., ECOSTATIC premium

EcostaticNelson Pizarro founded EcoStatic, Inc in 2012 with his children to create an eco-friendly alternative to sticky notes. They invented “slickynotes,” described as double-sided writing surfaces that come in a variety of sizes. EcoStatic developed a unique technology that gives their slickynotes an electrostatic charge that allows them to stick on surfaces instead of glue. Slickynotes are made of 100% recyclable materials and writing on them with dry erase markers makes them reusable. The notes attach to any flat surface and can be moved easily without losing their ability to stick. EcoStatic also produces a product called “slickyboard.” This larger white board made from the same materials as slickynotes adheres to any smooth service. Companies frequently use the product as a project management tool.

“Even if we haven’t made it yet,
we believe strongly in giving back as a company.”
~ Nelson Pizarro

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