women of worth businesses

Women of Worth

WOW + Propel Mentor/Protege Program

The Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) has named the 10 women-led companies that will make up the first all-female Propel cohort of WOW (Women of Worth).

Propel is a program specially designed to inspire women entrepreneurs and promote personal and business growth.

In addition to developing a bank-ready working business plan, business owners will receive specific help deciding between different financing options, preparing information for and negotiating with the lender, exploring alternative investment opportunities and reviewing current and future risks in the business.

The curriculum consists of GrowthWheel®, a toolbox for decision making in startup and growth companies. GrowthWheel helps entrepreneurs and business advisers get focus, set agenda, make decisions and take action.

“This program is a catalyst to developing a business on a sounder basis and getting it to the point where it is bankable and even attractive to private sources of finance if appropriate,” said KOSBE Executive Director Aundrea Wilcox. “Each of these businesses will be starting at different places on the track. They will be sharing their experiences and what they already know with each other and learning from mentors and advisers who have also been handpicked for this all-female group. I know from my own experience that stepping outside of your comfort zone reaps great rewards, so these ladies are definitely in for a treat.”

Member companies in the WOW Propel cohort include:

  1. Hill’s Soul Food & Catering (Kingsport), Cassandra Hill, mobile catering and food truck.
  2. Belmeade Designs (Kingsport), Lindsey Wilder-Nieuwland, decorating.
  3. Doane’s Disposal Service (Blaine, Tennessee), Tammy Doane, waste collection and recycling.
  4. Faith’s Kingdom (Piney Flats), Lindsey Frye, eCommerce boutique.
  5. The Wicked Plant Shop (Kingsport), Jane Hall, garden center.
  6. ReShaping the Amazing U LLC (Kingsport), Linda Russell Qualls, med/spa.
  7. Sugar High LLC (Kingsport), Audrey Russell, gourmet sweets and treats.
  8. Abby Maddy & Co. (Kingsport), Stefanie Weakley, online retail.
  9. Red Eye Bistro (Johnson City), Amy Crowder, carefully curated specialty coffees from across Tennessee.
  10. EP’s Emporium (Kingsport), Esther Peters, rentals and custom builds.

When asked why they would like to participate in the WOW Propel Program, one member said, “To increase my knowledge and be a very successful business owner. To help/mentor others on how to become successful from my mistakes and accomplishments.” Another member said, “I would expect to learn how to present a business plan to a lender that would allow my company to grow to its potential.”

Survey of Women in Business

In 2020, KOSBE conducted a survey of women business owners and professional women and found that 57.8% of women never applied for bank or secondary lender financing; and the 7.8% who did were not funded. When asked how they would finance a small business endeavor, over 64% said they would utilize personal savings and 20.3% said they would charge credit cards. The survey showed that access to capital is a primary constraint and need of women business owners and female entrepreneurs in the area.

Read the full report by clicking the link in the sidebar.

WOW is funded in part through a grant from SunTrust now Truist.