Money Matters Success Story: Josephine Banks
In 2006, Josephine Banks started a real estate brokerage firm based in Brooklyn.
Like many business owners, she realized that she needed to shift focus when the economy took a turn for the worse. In late 2012, Josephine rebranded her business as a company specializing in green and sustainable products and renamed it Green Tech Sustainable Solutions.
Green Tech Sustainable Solutions now fulfills contracts among commercial and residential businesses for green cleaning services and products, providing energy and green audits for small businesses across the city and working as general contractors who utilize green and sustainable building practices.
"I thought the Build it Back funds to rebuild my business would prove useful, but then I heard about Kickstart," said Josephine. "I decided Kickstart would give me a better idea of how to manage my finances."
She applied and became part of the Fall 2013 class of the Money Matters workshop. Kick-Start's Money Matters Workshop is a special program for M/W/DBE construction contractors sponsored by NYCEDC, BOC Capital, and Columbia University. Participants in the workshop series attend six classes with intensive, individual business counseling to help build financial capacity and prepare for loans.
Josephine says that her biggest takeaway was learning how to read her credit score.
"On the periphery, you know that you need to build credit—but it's hard to actually do it," she remarked.
In Josephine's case, having a high credit score to boost her chances of receiving a loan was a big incentive. Second to that, was the prospect of getting more educated about the finances of her business.
The best part of being a part of the program?
"My CPA is impressed," said Josephine. "Originally I let the CPA handle everything, but now I am much more involved."
While Josephine is not completely at the point of handling her company's taxes on her own, she states that it's empowering to be a more invested client for her accountant. She encourages other small contractors to take their finances into their own hands, or at the very least, attend the Money Matters workshop.
Interested? Workshops are 5:30-8:30 pm every Monday between March 24th and April 28th at 110 William Street, Room 3A. Technical Assistance Sessions are 5:30-8:30 pm every Thursday between March 27th and May 1st. Apply and email the completed application to [email protected] by Monday, March 10.