The ACCESS Center for Equity + Success recently opened in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter inside Bailey Power Plant. The center provides certification training, access to capital, contract matching, entrepreneurial resources and more to minority- and women-owned businesses in Winston-Salem. The ACCESS Center hopes to increase the level of opportunity and access for local businesses related to economic mobility, filling a gap in the city’s economic landscape. The center features a meeting space, resource library and internet access.

“Our goal is to give existing MWBE businesses the resources and fuel they need to grow and create jobs,” said Hasani Mitchell, the center’s community manager. “When companies create jobs, they hire people they know, and that helps strengthen neighborhoods. And when companies hire qualified minority-owned businesses, it helps them achieve their diversity and inclusion goals, so it’s a win-win situation.”

Mitchell previously served as a diversity compliance specialist for the City of Winston-Salem’s Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise department. The center is a byproduct of Venture Café Winston-Salem and Piedmont Business Capital, which is developing a $500,000 loan portfolio for MWBE businesses through the ACCESS Center.

“When a business gets a contract and needs operating capital to expand staff or purchase new equipment for example, we can help them get the money they need to complete the work. We’re ready to put half a million dollars to work in Winston Salem,” said Wilson Lester, executive director of Piedmont Business Capital.

The center was launched with a grant from Wexford Science + Technology, the developer of Bailey Power Plant, and from Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. It is located inside the Bailey Power Plant, 486 Patterson Ave. The website is www.accessws.org.