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Every Month Is Black Business Month At This North Loop Non-Profit

From her stylish headquarters in the Itasca Building on North 1st Street, Nancy Korsah is setting the confident tone she hopes to instill in members of her non-profit, Black Business Enterprises.

“I think the narrative that people of color have here in the US is that they can’t or shouldn’t do better than expected,” she said.I just want to show them that there’s a way out. As long as you have all the tools that you need, you can get out.”

With a nationwide network including 12,000 Twin Cities members, BBE provides financial literacy, connections and guidance that budding business people often lack to take that next step. It can be as simple as lining them up with bookkeeping software or showing them how to put together a Profit & Loss statement to show a banker.

“Sometimes that’s why they get declined,” she said, “they don’t have their stuff in order. Many haven’t even used a laptop; they’ve been running their business on a phone. So my job is to make sure that I can help them get things in order so they stop hearing ‘no’.”

As a native of Italy, Korsah is a big believer in the American dream while also recognizing the toll that racism has taken here in the US.

“I want this racial divide, racial tension to go away at some point,” she said. “I have a six-year-old. I know we can do better.”

Korsah, who rose through the ranks at Wells Fargo Bank for ten years and now also owns a home healthcare business, says Black Business Enterprises has helped open 7,300 businesses since its inception in 2015. Besides workshops and personal connections, they host dozens of events each year as well as a podcast at their North Loop headquarters.

She chose to move BBE to our neighborhood in 2022, in large part because of the overall vibe. Her board co-chair, Tracy Call, owns Media Bridge Advertising, also in the Itasca Building.

“Every time I came to visit her, I felt at home,” she said. “I was like, oh, this reminds me of Italy, everybody’s out walking. Neighbors are saying hello, it’s green. It just felt like a neighborhood I could resonate with.”

And while her new space has a “wow factor,” (watch a video tour here) don’t think that she hired interior designers to do the big makeover. She says she and her sister did almost all the work, from laying floors to hanging lights and electronics.

“The contractor was too expensive so we YouTubed everything and did it ourselves,” she said.

BBE’s next big workshop–focused on how to get business funding–is Sunday, August 13th from 11am-6pm at the Courtyard by Marriott downtown. Admission is $10.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop volunteer

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