Small business owners, no matter where they live, wear multiple hats. They are experts in their trades, managers, advertisers, legal navigators and accountants, and often at times even mothers and fathers. In between the thousands of tasks they have to do, they also have to come up with a strategy to grow and sustain their businesses. That’s why Accion East launched its first-ever MicroConsulting Program.
Accion East and its Microfinance Council, a volunteer network that advocates for Accion East, matched volunteers with Accion East-supported business owners based on their needs. The volunteers focused on one achievable project that would lead to growth. With two volunteers per business owner, they worked over a seven week period to provide the business owner with a deliverable.
At the end of the seven weeks, the Microfinance Council and Accion East’s staff, board members and supporters celebrated the accomplishments of the program participants at the PIMCO office.
As I arrived to PIMCO, each business owner had a table showcasing their business. I tried a cupcake from Kicky’s Kitchen, a samosa from Masala Wala and lathered on lotion from House D’Marsh. Also on display were beautiful hand-made leather journals and bags from NadiraBag, bangles and earrings from Crusoe Jewelry and cookie cakes from Fatty Cakes. Then, the volunteer-client pairs gave short presentations on what they achieved together.
Read on for descriptions of the businesses showcased and the support that the MicroConsultants provided!
Christie MacKinnon is the owner of Kicky’s Kitchen a boozy cupcake catering business. She was ready to expand her business from catering to retail, but she didn’t know who would buy or sell her boozy cupcakes and cupcake kits.
- Solution: Her volunteers researched online and retail distributors that would best fit her brand and products. They proposed a plan to distribute her cupcakes through Etsy and Whole Foods.
- Volunteers: Nanette, Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young and Suhail, Associate at Grant Thornton