Women’s Business Center and LISC WNY Announce Building Allyships Program

May 11, 2021

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Buffalo, NY - The Women’s Business Center (WBC) at Canisius College and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) WNY today announce their partnership in a timely and first of its kind program to create more equitable opportunity for WNY’s businesses.  The “Building Allyships” program seeks to take a parallel approach of action; teaching the decision makers and influencers of our community how to take steps towards diversifying their business by learning how to be a real ally while providing business technical support for women of color entrepreneurs in preparation of leveling up their business. The program will culminate in the groups being merged for the purpose of creating actionable and ongoing allyship with creative problem-solving, shared understanding, and networking. 

LISC WNY is a champion for equitable community development in the WNY region.  With a funding opportunity to support women of color business owners they turned to the Women’s Business Center at Canisius College that has been the mainstay for women-led business since 2004. 

“When we received this resource, we looked to the WBC as a leader in the business ecosystem for women entrepreneurs.  With a mission to empower women entrepreneurs, and being the only technical assistance provider focusing solely on women businesses in WNY, their ability to develop and sustain relationships with women of color business owners made them a great fit for this funding opportunity,” says Tyra Johnson Hux, Deputy Director of LISC WNY.

“The WBC consistently creates new programming to address the needs of our local women entrepreneurs, supporting their business growth and success,” said WBC Executive Director Sara Vescio. “The current times have many talking about how systemic racism and segmented communities has led to greater hurdles for women of color entrepreneurs to reach the level of success they desire, while also leaving decision makers and influencers at a loss on how to do better, or falling short of actually doing better.  We wanted to tackle both issues by bringing people together in an intentional way, facilitated by Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) experts, that goes beyond talking and dives into action.”   

The Women’s Business Center, with their partnership from LISC WNY and contracted DEI team members, Dr. Tara Jabbaar-Gyambrah and John Davis, have created a 6-week class that will begin with parallel educational classes, culminating with joint classes that brings the 2 groups together halfway through.

“Entrepreneurship is growing, over the last few years with over 50% representing women of color,” says Dr. Tara Jabbaar-Gyambrah, DEI expert and owner of TMJ Consulting, LLC.  “The allyship program is a great opportunity for women of color to gain a seat at the table with influential decision makers to help grow our businesses through mentorship, networking, and funding opportunities.”

“Decision makers and influencers for too long have helped preserve the status quo by consigning diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to HR instead of using their own power to effect change,” says John Davis, DEI expert and owner of Davis & Allen Consulting Group LLC. “Allyship is a strategic mechanism used to become an effective collaborator, accomplice, and coconspirator to fight injustice and promote equity in the workplace.  This is maintained through a solid foundation of personal relationships, public acts of sponsorship, and advocacy.  

The Building Allyship program seeks to support 100 individuals through 2 rounds of classes; pairing 50 women of color entrepreneurs and 50 decision makers/influencers. Beginning June 9th and again on July 21st, the 6-weeks within the program will include learning historical, personal and business perspectives leading to greater economic success for all included. Applications open today and will close on May 21, 2001. Interested participants can learn more about the programs offered and apply for the program on the WBC’s website www.thewomensbusinesscenter.com

ABOUT THE WBC:

The Women’s Business Center, founded in 2004 as a private-public partnership between Canisius College and the Small Business Administration, is the home of women entrepreneurship in Western New York. The WBC is the premier resource empowering woman-owned businesses through education, connections and community to gain economic opportunities through all phases of business.

ABOUT LISC WESTERN NEW YORK:

LISC WNY works regionally with partners to bring local neighborhood ideas to life; creating great places to live, work and raise a family for all.  Our approach takes a place-based and people-centered approach to help individuals and small businesses currently isolated from economic opportunity better connect to opportunities necessary for them to successfully participate in their regions’ growth and prosperity.  LISC WNY’s focus on neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing, neighborhood business, and family income & wealth building goals aims to better coordinate and concentrate workforce, small business, and real estate development in districts or neighborhoods that have traditionally seen a lack of investment.  Learn more about LISC WNY at www.lisc.org/wny.   

ABOUT CANISIUS COLLEGE:

One of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius prepares leaders – intelligent, caring, faithful individuals – able to pursue and promote excellence in their professions, their communities and their service to humanity.