Kenya Nelson Stevens founded KNS Solutions in 2015. From her main office in Nashville, Tennessee, Kenya brings her financial expertise and years of experience as a small business educator and owner to small business clients across the country, powered by cloud-based accounting software and guided by a philosophy she calls “positive prosperity.”
She explains, “It’s my why. People start businesses to prosper, to make money, but so often I see fear and avoidance when it comes to financial matters when it’s the key to unlocking the power of owning your own business and taking charge of your prosperity! I see my role as more than accounting and love helping my clients overcome that fear so they can tap into their power.”
Her philosophy grew out of her personal experience starting a business, and she guides her clients to help them set up their books correctly through 1-on-1 coaching and empowerment. Kenya knew to succeed as a small business owner she needed to understand her finances, so she tapped into coaching to support other entrepreneurs too.
Over 6 years ago Kenya attended a workshop at Pathway Lending and found a lasting relationship after connecting with Pathway business advisors. Through attending workshops at Pathway, she met other business owners who would become clients of KNS Solutions and benefit from her mission and expertise in accounting. As the serendipitous relationship grew, her referrals to Pathway Lending guided her clients to receive funding to start and grow their businesses. The investments that Kenya makes in her clients and the community are remarkable which led Pathway Women’s Business Center to invite her to serve on the Board of Advisors in 2019.
“Entrepreneurs may need funding, but really need learning solutions to grow their small business, and Pathway understands that. Pathway has a complete offering to support small business owners; funding and education are the keys to success”, said Kenya.
She credits her philosophy as the reason she was able to pivot successfully through the 2020 pandemic. By practicing what she coaches, with an understanding of her finances, she was in a position to know where she could defer payments while continuing to work with clients. Working closely with small businesses, Kenya prepared her clients to navigate through the pandemic and apply for funding with clean and up-to-date bookkeeping.
“Understand your finances, financial statements and bookkeeping. Done right, you can understand how your business is doing. You can also see what is possible for growth,” said Kenya.
With a loan from Pathway Lending funded in part by a grant from Wells Fargo’s Diverse Community Capital Program, Kenya was able to support and add to her team and grow in her professional development by enrolling in workshops and affiliate groups to help scale her business. Her 1-on-1 coaching and consulting through the pandemic has prepared small business owners to pay back the capital they received.
“Working so closely with Pathway is truly a full circle moment. It’s a great collaboration all the way around and a joy to see so many benefit from this relationship. Pathway’s investment in KNS Solutions has given me the resources to invest in so many other small businesses. There’s a ripple affect that touches this community, and we’ll continue to fuel positive prosperity to every small business owner who needs it.”
Pathway Lending and Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital
Whether you need education to get capital ready or need capital to grow your business, Pathway Lending is here to help you take your next step. Pathway offers a complete catalog of loan products, including Paycheck Protection Program loans, and a full range of learning programs, from classrooms to one-to-one coaching, to businesses at any stage in any industry.
Partnerships with agencies and philanthropies serve as an opportunity for Pathway to provide learning programs to loan clients at no cost. Wells Fargo committed an additional $100 million in grant capital, to continue and expand the program through 2020.
DCC funds are intended to be utilized by CDFIs to lend to diverse small business owners, support initiatives that increase access to capital and resources (such as technical assistance, marketing, outreach), and help more diverse small business owners get the coaching and education resources they may need. The program also has a social capital component, focused on activities to build effective support networks and social infrastructure among CDFIs for the purpose of increasing lending to diverse small businesses. Wells Fargo is collaborating with Opportunity Finance Network to execute certain aspects of the program.