Cornerstone Alliance is Berrien County’s lead economic development organization, whose mission is to increase employment opportunities, private sector capital investments and the local tax base in Michigan’s Great Southwest with specialized business services offered in economically distressed areas.
Small businesses represent the heartbeat of the community and are essential to the community’s economic future. In carrying out its mission, Cornerstone Alliance was approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to serve as a host organization to a Women’s Business Center program. The Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance (WBC) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 that provides business training, counseling, resources, and technical assistance to targeted communities for economic and social empowerment through a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. The WBC focuses on providing business counseling, education, and resources to populations that have historically faced social or economic barriers, which include women, people of color, and low-to-moderate income households. The goal of the WBC is to provide entrepreneurs with the knowledge needed to help them start, grow, and expand their small business and achieve financial independence.
The WBC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As one of three Women’s Business Centers in the State of Michigan, the WBC at Cornerstone Alliance offers services to residents and businesses in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties.
The WBC’s main office is located in downtown Benton Harbor, with satellite locations in South Haven, Three Oaks, and Dowagiac.
Since 2004, the WBC has served over 4,438 small businesses, helped start or grow 205 businesses, created additional jobs for many, and brought over $3.3 million dollars into Southwest Michigan.
The WBC at Cornerstone Alliance is seeking a dynamic, outgoing, customer-service driven, thought leader to lead and manage the WBC program at Cornerstone Alliance. This position will effectively serve entrepreneurs in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties through entrepreneurship education, counseling, and business development and be a strong liaison with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s Women’s Business Center program.
This position manages the delivery of services to a variety of business clients, with full responsibility for compliance with the federal WBC grant requirements and directives. This position leads program management and participates in collaborative and strategic planning processes to offer high-quality services to the WBC at Cornerstone Alliance’s clientele. The WBC Program Director provides leadership in marketing, outreach and implementation of programs, and supervises the Microloan Program Associate and external consultants to ensure appropriate program delivery. The WBC Program Director acts as the staff liaison to the Women’s Business Center Advisory Council, a group consisting of local industry leaders and WBC client entrepreneurs, that provides guidance and insight to staff regarding the operation of the WBC program.
The WBC Program Director also plays a key role in grant management, which includes financial management and reporting, data collection, report writing, and other administrative duties.
The ideal candidate would have a strong small business training and/or financial counseling background, enabling them to provide programs and services to business clients; as well as a strong communications capacity to help network, provide outreach and represent the WBC program in a variety of public settings. The ideal candidate will also be community-driven and have demonstrated experience working with diverse populations.
Program Planning, Development and Implementation
- Develop program plans to ensure grant obligations are met and impact realized
- Integrate with partner programs and services to ensure success for WBC clients
- Track effectiveness of programs using Outcome Tracker CRM
- Report to WBC Advisory Council and Cornerstone Alliance Boards on WBC program
- Develop, maintain and implement annual WBC program/event planning schedule
Business Training and Consulting
- Deliver business workshops and webinars, as needed
- Provide business consulting, as needed, in subject area of expertise
- Manage staff and consultants to provide these same services
- Travel throughout Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties to provide business consulting, meet with community organizations, market the program, etc.
- Staff the Three Oaks satellite office a minimum of once per week to serve clients in south Berrien and Cass Counties.
WBC Program Marketing and Outreach
- Work with Cornerstone Alliance marketing staff to develop and maintain marketing plan and timeline to ensure strong program participation and reaching target markets
- Coordinate and write marketing materials (online and paper)
- Engage with local media, write and submit success stories, and advance the public image of the WBC at Cornerstone Alliance
- Effectively communicate goals of the WBC in community meetings
- Build community partnerships – especially with private industry including banks, local businesses, chambers of commerce, service clubs, other SBA Resource Partners such as the Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, etc.
Program Staff and Consultant Management
- Recommend employment status of program staff and consultants with V.P. of Finance & Entrepreneurship and Cornerstone Alliance President
- Manage and train program staff when needed
- Oversee the work of the Microloan Program Associate to ensure proper program delivery
- Lead effective program meetings
- Co-develop and manage all program administrative and budget needs with the Vice President of Finance & Entrepreneurship
- Keep accurate and consistent records of client activity
- Ensure that SBA budget expenditures are properly disbursed and documented
- Complete and submit quarterly and annual reports in EDMIS as requested by both SBA district and federal offices to ensure compliance with and adherence to all SBA regulations and requirements
- Ensure programs are tracked for effectiveness and meeting WBC goals/milestones using Outcome Tracker CRM
- Attend all SBA and AWBC (Association for Women’s Business Centers) conference calls, webinars, and training conferences (Local, regional, statewide, and national travel).
Reporting Structure: The WBC Program Director reports to the V.P. of Finance & Entrepreneurship and works closely with the program and administrative staff and external consultants to ensure consistent and effective program delivery and activity/outcome tracking for the WBC. The WBC Program Director oversees the Microloan Program Associate.
Skills & Qualifications:
- Dedication to Cornerstone Alliance and WBC missions
- Ideal candidate will have first-hand experience and compassion for the WBC’s target groups of women, people of color, and low to moderate income business owners, understanding their needs, wants, values and goals
- Experience in nonprofit organization and federal grant management
- Ability to develop and implement administrative processes and program plans on-time and within budget
- Demonstrated skills in program outreach, marketing, and client interaction
- Experience in supervising direct reports, other staff, and consultants
- Ability to identify priorities, take initiative, and make clear recommendations to ensure successful delivery of programs, services, reporting and customer service
- Experience in counseling people. Ideal candidate will have financial counseling experience
- General knowledge of the workings of federal, state, and local government
- General knowledge of microenterprise/small business development field and business concepts
- Must have advanced knowledge of financial skills, i.e. budgeting, cash flow
- Willingness to travel (local, regional, statewide, and nationally) and work evening or irregular hours as needed
- General knowledge of Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties
- Must be adaptable and able to respond to changes in a working environment
- Must have a high level of computer and social media skills, technology mindset
- Must have strong written and verbal communication skills
- Must have an ability to train others in skills and knowledge
- Must be able to work independently and exercise good judgment in a team environment
- Must be willing to learn in all areas of job description.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Business or similar field or 5-years equivalent experience.
- Two years of experience working in a nonprofit or government agency preferred.
- Management and programmatic experience.
- Experience working in a microenterprise or small business development and/or community-based nonprofit organization preferred.
- Experience in counseling, specifically, business or financial counseling is highly preferred.
- Computer proficiency (general computing skills, Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat) and excellent writing skills a must.
- Experience with Outcome Tracker CRM, EDMIS a plus.
Please do not call or email the office asking about this position.
- Cover letter which should include a description of your qualifications as they relate to the position description provided; why you are interested in this position; and highlighted experience that particularly qualifies you for the position.
- Two (2) writing samples (limited to 2 pages each)
- Two (2) professional references
Position Open Until Filled. Expected Start Date: October 2020
The Women’s Business and Microloan Program are funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All SBA programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made requested at least two weeks in advance. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs). Cornerstone Alliance and the Renaissance Development Fund are equal opportunity providers, and employers.