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Lincoln Financial Foundation Donates $40,000 To GSO Chamber and Action Greensboro

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The Lincoln Financial Group has extended its partnership with local business entities by providing two grants to Greensboro-based economic development and support groups. The grants, valued at $20,000 apiece were presented through the company’s charitable foundation to the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and Action Greensboro.

The first of the grants is targeted for the implementation of a new Chamber of Commerce program entitled Creating New Business and New Jobs. There are two parts to the program, the Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) and the Entrepreneur Navigator.

Greensboro Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Entrepreneurship Lou Anne Flanders-Stec explained that $10,000 of the money will be put into the MBA program. “The MBA is connecting small minority owned and run businesses to larger corporations in our community to help smaller businesses grow and to increase the number of minority owned businesses in our area.”

Connectivity is the cornerstone of any economic development plan and it is a founding principle of Chambers of Commerce around the nation. Efforts like MBA programs help to provide additional resources and opportunities for areas that may have been underserved in the past.
Another $10,000 of the grants will be used to continue development of the Entrepreneur Navigator.

“The Navigator is an online tool that is currently in the development phase,” Flanders-Stec said. “This tool will provide connectivity for entrepreneurs to the programs, people and resources that they need, all in one place.

“There are many ways for entrepreneurs to connect,” she continued, “we hope to provide an easy way to find what they need when they need it.”

In the modern economy, there are almost unlimited resources for business development and growing business acumen, but the difficulty is often in finding just what a particular business owner needs. A tool to collect, collate and sift through all the programs, opportunities, educational opportunities and advice could be a boon to local companies both large and small, new and established.

Chambers have long served as meeting grounds where business owners and leaders can meet and share their knowledge and experience, as well as make connections within the local community to strengthen each other through connectivity.

This connectivity, Flanders-Stec explained, is a cornerstone of the Innovate Greensboro program that is overseeing these two projects. “We’re working to connect the “under connected” to resources within the community.”

“We’re also working as an entrepreneurial ecosystem to connect with each other,” she continued. “All of the providers of services for entrepreneurs are working together for the development of the Navigator program.”

The other $20,000 grant from the Lincoln Financial Foundation will be going to the Opportunity Greensboro Fellows Program. This program is aimed at talent retention in the city as a concerted effort rather than as a group of individual initiatives within businesses.

Local colleges and universities turn out a great number of enterprising graduates each year and local businesses develop many into great performers. Keeping those performers interested in the local area and developing their skills and connections is a vital part of long term business growth.

The Opportunity Greensboro Fellows Program will allow participants to take part in local, high quality paid summer internships for 10 weeks. This can give them not just vital learning opportunities but give them solid starting experience and opportunities to explore long-term career options.

In addition, participants will take part in the two-day Leonard Kaplan Leadership Institute at the Center for Creative Leadership. This gives the participants an opportunity to make the most of a local resource that is renowned for world class learning opportunities for business leaders, both present and future.

An important part of the Greensboro employment and business scene, Lincoln Financial Group continues to invest in the local community. Through their philanthropic arm, the Lincoln Financial Foundation, they invest $10 million a year in youth education, economic and workforce development in the communities they serve. They also donate to human wellbeing and arts initiatives within those communities.

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