Promoting Diverse Small Business Ownership

Oct 25, 2022

A gift from Wells Fargo is fueling a partnership between Drake University and the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families that serves diverse entrepreneurs throughout central Iowa.

The Drake Small Business Clinic received $500,000 as part of this award. Bill Adamowski, Drake’s executive director of innovation, entrepreneurship, and human-centered design, founded and oversees the clinic. The clinic addresses the challenges of growing and maintaining a new business through a three-month business accelerator, a mentorship program, and workshops on relevant business topics. Drake’s partnership with the Evelyn K. Davis Center enables entrepreneurs to participate in the Drake Small Business Clinic after graduating from the Evelyn K. Davis Center’s Business Boot Camp, which is dedicated to helping individuals launch small businesses.

During the first-year pilot of this partnership, the Drake Small Business Clinic served 46 entrepreneurs, including Marc “Tony Mac” Nalls and his Clippernomics, the only barber school within 200 miles of Des Moines.

“My ultimate goal when I started in this industry 20+ years ago was to open my own barber school,” said Nalls. “Teaching the youth and showing them that throughout all the struggles they may endure, this industry is a way of legitimizing oneself and staying off the streets. And I’m so grateful for the teachers and coaches I met through the Evelyn K. Davis Center and Drake University to help me achieve my goal and be a positive influence in my community.”

The Drake Small Business Clinic reflects Drake’s strong commitment to the city of Des Moines and central Iowa.

“As an anchor institution in Des Moines, Drake University is committed to strengthening our community,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “One of the ways we are living this commitment is by advancing small business opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs, and we are grateful for the generous support of Wells Fargo and our partnership with the Evelyn K. Davis Center. Through this collaboration we will help build a more inclusive economy, providing assistance to help growth-minded small business owners unlock the potential of their enterprise.”

Wells Fargo big check

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