In early 2021, Pathway Lending expanded its presence in Chattanooga, Tennessee adding new staff and a permanent office to better support the city’s diverse community of entrepreneurs. Following this expansion, the time was right to engage in new and meaningful ways around the topics of economic inclusion and capital access.

On November 8-9, 2021, Pathway Lending hosted its inaugural African American Business Summit at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. The African American Business Summit was a free, two-night event that welcomed expert presenters and experienced business owners to lead six sessions on how Black-owned businesses can access funding and put it to work in growing their businesses.

Kicking off the first night, Key Dawson, Senior Advisor – Business Development at Pathway Lending; Yolanda Hayslett, Senior Director of Accounting at Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce; and Quentin Lawrence, Vice President of Lending – Chattanooga at Pathway Lending, shared insight into business planning essentials, financial management, and funding fundamentals. Night two included a panel discussion hosting four Chattanooga local business owners — Brandon Ellis of Chatterbox Café, Chanda Chambers of Chambers Welding & Fabrication, Shena Allen of SewPretty Designs, and Ryan Tisdale of Roots Hair & Beauty. The four local business owners had the opportunity to share their own tips and tricks in navigating business ownership while giving attendees insight into their personal journeys of entrepreneurship.

Following the presentations and small business owner panel, guests were invited to engage with speakers and ask questions, creating a collaborative atmosphere amongst presenters, small business owners, and attendees. Through the collaboration, attendees gained a broader scope about both business ownership and the opportunities entrepreneurs can take on when working alongside Pathway Lending.

“Pathway Lending has a team that is made to help people just like you and me get funding to grow our businesses and create a better economy for our community,” said Brandon Ellis of Chatterbox Café.

The African American Business Summit revealed great stories of success for Chattanooga local business owners in 2021 and offered valuable insight into the different journeys that each business owner can experience as an entrepreneur. Pathway Lending is excited to continue expanding our efforts to support businesses in Chattanooga in 2022.

Click below to view the African American Business Summit video streams: