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Aspira-USA Launches Program to Help Small Businesses Succeed During-and-Post Pandemic

Aspira-USA, sponsored by the Richmond, VA Office of Minority Business Development (MBD), presented an early Christmas present to the city’s small and minority-owned businesses by facilitating free industry-specific workshops to help businesses re-calibrate, re-imagine and re-emerge to succeed in a Covid-19 environment.

“Our goal is to inspire businesses to be more, learn more and achieve more,” say Aspira-USA’s co-founders Michel Daley and Tony Cord. “With that goal in mind, we launched our ‘New Dawn—New Day!’ program to provide the tools businesses need to reinvent themselves in the current environment, and re-emerge stronger than ever in the marketplace” Daley said.

Cord mentioned that Aspira-USA has offered the creative workshop idea to government agencies and private-sector companies from Baltimore to Richmond as a way to arrest the significant small business closures due to the pandemic. The Richmond MBD office was the first to sponsor the program, realizing it was aligned with MBD goals of offering value-added training and technical assistance to minority businesses. The Richmond MBD offers extensive Covid-19 resources and financial assistance to small businesses throughout the Richmond, VA metropolitan area.

Richmond MBD Director Patricia Foster felt it important to maintain an active commitment to minority businesses even as agencies scaled down operations for the holidays. She identified minority businesses needing help in four industries: Retail; Personal Services; Restaurants; and Construction. She then asked Aspira-USA to develop customized workshops for each business segment.

Feedback from the workshops has been positive and appreciative. According to workshop participant Tracey Harvey, co-founder and chief creative officer of the TCT Design Firm “The initial presentation and subsequent advice helped me understand why goal setting and action plans are the direct paths to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Not only were the sessions well organized, professional, and engaging, but the advice and mentoring offered by these gentlemen [Tony Cord and Michel Daley] was outstanding.

“As presenters, Mr. Cord and Mr. Daley often related actual experiences to the questions the audience posed, which helped reinforce their positive messages. They also explained the pros and cons of making important business decisions and how failing to plan prevents success,” she added.

Aspira-USA [] is a training and consulting firm first established in Washington, DC, and recently expanded to serve the region from Richmond, VA to Baltimore, MD. The company expects to continue helping businesses re-emerge during the pandemic by offering its New Dawn—New Day! workshops throughout the region in 2021.


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