Abena Foli Shares Her Startup Journey with POKS Spices

Featured recently in this article in the Cornell Chronicle, Abena Foli shares how her inspiration to bring West African flavors to the US marketplace was the idea behind her launch of POKS Spices. Foli is a graduate of the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship certificate program and discusses how specific coursework as well as the connections made in the program opened her eyes to funding and resources that were available to launch and scale her business. We are so proud of all that she had achieved so far and can’t wait to see where POKS Spices goes next!

REPOST: Spreadsheet with funding resources for 2023

Each month, we send an email blast to students enrolled in the program with a list of funding opportunities and business resources. In between the monthly email blasts, we keep this spreadsheet updated daily with new opportunities that we find (the last column indicates the date when the item was added to the spreadsheet): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zU5SUCYBopz64FM4q_nqp2wvILmcdItq_PRWQRXFUB4/edit?usp=sharingMore

Extra Education Supports Becoming An Entrepreneur

According to this piece in Fast Company, during 2021 alone, over 5 million new companies were registered in the US alone which is an increase of 23% over the previous year. While some of this increase can be attributed to the impact of the global pandemic, research is suggesting that education is playing a role as well.

While some experts have felt that continuing education is more about “signaling rather than skill development”, this new research is providing evidence that additional years of post-high school education can boost self-employment in high-growth industries. Research goes on to point out that, “for women, education may have an even greater impact on encouraging them to jump into entrepreneurship by increasing their confidence in addition to their skills.”

Education is certainly something we believe in at the Institute! If you (or someone you know) would benefit from our free 12-week entrepreneurship certificate program,  go to this page and click the “Join the Waitlist” button. We enroll on a quarterly basis and reach out to those on the notification list in the order that they are there. 

Graduate Shares Her Experiences In the Women’s Entrepreneurship Certificate Program

Tina Fears completed the Women’s Entrepreneurship Certificate program in February 2021. In the interview, Fears shares that after completing the program, “I immediately implemented new business practices that reflect who I am as a leader, a woman, and an entrepreneur. The program also addresses the importance of negotiation, contracts, and critical legal issues women in business face.” Read more about Tina’s experience in this article in the Gwinnett Forum.

Institute Funding Boosted To Bring Through 100,000 Students

Graduates from the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell. Top row, from left to right: Zaakirah Muhammad, Denisse Lamas, Shereese Floyd, Elizabeth Roy. Bottom row, from left to right: Randii Smith, Anh LyJordan, Jessica Williams, Abena Foli.

Bank of America announced their commitment to continue to fund the Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell so that we can bring another 50,000 students through the program at no cost to participants. That will bring our total number to 100,000!

There was an additional press piece reported by Bloomberg that mentioned the expansion of the program and also highlighted one of our program graduates. We are so excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with such a diverse and inspiring group of entrepreneurs in the years ahead!

Jacksonville Businesswoman Highlighted In Florida Times-Union

Stephanie Jones, founder of Women at Werk, an organization committed to  providing women with empowerment and mentorship opportunities, was recently highlighted in a Florida Times-Union article. We were thrilled to hear about the positive experience that she has had in the Women’s Entrepreneurship certificate program (she is over half way through the program now) and look forward to seeing more of our students and program grads featured in regional and national news for their accomplishments! So glad to be a small part of Stephanie’s journey!

Institute Impacts Women Entrepreneurs in Jacksonville, FL

Headshot of Melissa Ross during her First Coast Connect radio program on WJCT News

The Institute was mentioned by Bank of America Jacksonville Market President Mark Bennett during an interview with Melissa Ross of WJCT News (NPR) Jacksonville as part of her First Coast Connect program and her Women’s Small Business Month series. Mark highlighted how the Institute is helping women in Jacksonville grow their businesses.  His comments begin just past 53:50.