Women’s Business Center Hopes to Link Entrepreneurial Community | GSA Business

Women’s Business Center Hopes to Link Entrepreneurial Community | GSA Business

September 21st – October 4th Issue of GSA Business Report | Read more here

“Staying in business as a corporate logo seamstress when even the largest corporations shutter means being able to re-invent yourself. ANd then re-invent yourself again.

Before the pandemic, Dionne Sandiford, founder, and principal of Corporate Stitch embroidered everything from golf towels to sports bags to uniforms for BMW suppliers, Michelin, and a slew of other companies in the Upstate.

What I like about CommunityWorks is it’s not so much of a handholding as a guiding,” she said. “They guide you through whatever maze you’re stuck in: if you have a problem as far as trying to understand your financials, trying to understand your marketing, how to best get your name out there, how to just maneuver all the muck small businesses go through.

“Once the pandemic hit, everything shut off,” Sandiford said. “I told someone it was like you’re running water and then someone just comes and shuts off the faucet and the phones stopped ringing. The orders stopped coming. And even two companies that I have a good relationship with just said, ‘Dionne, we don’t need the shirts.”

So, in the moment just before textile companies across the country cranked up looms and sewing machines to meet a shortage in personal protective equipment, Sandiford began making masks.

All in all, she attributes her agility in 2020 and during challenges in previous years to her counsel from CommunityWorks.

“What I like about CommunityWorks is it’s not so much of a handholding as a guiding,” she said. “They guide you through whatever maze you’re stuck in: if you have a problem as far as trying to understand your financials, trying to understand your marketing, how to best get your name out there, how to just maneuver all the muck small businesses go through.”

As CommunityWorks cut the ribbon on one of seven Small Business Administration-backed women’s business centers across the country on Sept. 3, Sandiford listened in as SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette covered the trials small businesses, especially female-owned enterprises have tackled over the past few months.

She hopes the center will help women, especially women of color, overcome stigmas related to being taken less seriously as a business owner than their male counterparts.

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