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Nine minority- and women-owned businesses receive almost $19,500 in grant awards | Local

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Nine owners of minority- and women-owned businesses received grant awards totaling almost $19,500 from the Sharp End Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) Fund at an awards ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

James Whitt, the director of Columbia’s Supplier Diversity Program and manager of the fund, gave out the awards at the event. The event was only available to the public via Facebook Live, and the broadcast is now on the Supplier Diversity Program’s Facebook page.

The fund, which is managed by the SEED Committee, was named in honor of the Sharp End, a historic Black business district in downtown Columbia. The district was destroyed by urban renewal in the 1960s.

Whitt said the SEED Committee aims to support minority- and women-owned businesses in Columbia by raising funds, building long-term relationships and creating opportunities for mentorship.

Out of 39 applicants for the awards, nine were  selected after an evaluation process conducted by the committee. Whitt said the committee is made up of minority business owners, including himself.

The committee looked at each business’s financing, branding, legal structure and contributions to economic development to decide who would get the awards. The business owners were also asked how they would use the money, and the committee considered their answers when deciding the winners.

  • Greg Emanuel and Trinity Technical Solutions received $950. Trinity Technical Solutions provides technical support, solutions, consulting services, sales and managed services. The funding will go towards a Microsoft partnership and employee training.
  • Brittany Hilderbrand and Writers Block won $950. Writers Block assists clients in business plan, blog, essay, content and grant writing. The money will be spent on trademarking its name.
  • Stacy Self and WildysWorld got $1,800. WildysWorld is an art company that provides murals, paintings, art parties and more. The award will be spent on supplies.
  • Cornellia Williams and Cornellia Speaks were awarded $1,950. Cornellia Speaks is William’s career and life coaching, credit repair and motivational speaking company. The funding will boost the company’s resources.
  • Ranjana Hans and Raw Roots Turmeric received $2,313. Raw Roots Turmeric grows and processes turmeric for sale at the farmers market and health care stores. The funding will go towards supplies for the growing process.
  • Jasmine Buckner and Jazz It Up Cleaning got $2,323. Jazz It Up Cleaning is a residential and commercial floor cleaning company. The money will be spent on a new cleaning machine.
  • Natasha Harris and Victory Finances won $2,444. Victory Finances provides financial organizing services. The funding will go towards tax preparation software and employee certification.
  • Michael McClain and McClain’s Electric Workz were awarded $2,722. McClain’s Electric Workz improves the electrical features in residential properties. The award will fund the purchase of a ladder, a generator, tools and a laptop.
  • Debra Harris and Luxx Beauty and Barber Institute received $4,000. Luxx Beauty and Barber Institute is a salon and barbershop. The money will be spent on barber station equipment.

Most of the business owners said a few words after receiving their checks.

Emanuel thanked the donors for giving the money that made the awards possible.

“As a minority-owned business, as a small business, there’s a lot of challenges,” Emanuel said. “You wear a lot of hats, so programs like this are really inspirational, and it really means a lot that community resources get behind small businesses.”

Hans said organizations like Regional Economic Development Inc. and the Missouri Women’s Business Center made building her business possible.

“They both stood side by side with me like a pillar,” Hans said.

McClain thanked God for showing him that anything is possible. He thanked Whitt for believing in him and the committee for seeing promise in his business. He also thanked the other recipients.

“It’s an honor to be around people who believe in their self,” McClain said.

Williams thanked “every person that helped fulfill our dreams, and those that are coming behind us.”

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Dave says: If you need a cosigner, you're not ready – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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How to improve your credit score in 2021: Easy and effective tips

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If you’ve ever wondered “What is my credit score?” it’s probably time to find out. Having a good credit score can make life a lot more affordable. If you’re about to buy a house or car, for example, the higher your credit score is, the lower your interest rate (and therefore, monthly cost) will probably be.

Your number may also be the deciding factor for whether or not you can get a loan and ultimately determine if you are even able to buy something you want or need.

So, yes, the goal is to have the highest possible credit score you can, but increasing the number doesn’t just happen overnight. There are important steps to take if you want to increase your score, and the sooner you start working on it, the better.

“If you’re trying to increase (your credit score) substantially to accomplish a goal, you’re really going to have to have as much lead time as possible,” said Thomas Nitzsche, director of media and brand at Money Management International, a nonprofit financial counseling and education provider that advises people on how to legally and ethically improve their credit score on their own.

If you have fair credit and you’re trying to improve the number for a house purchase, for instance, you’ll want to start working on it at least a year in advance, he explained to TMRW.

But even though that sounds like a long time away, you can (and should!) start doing things right now to bump that number up. Below, see seven things you should do — and not do — to help improve your credit score:

1. Review your credit report

Review your credit report and look for errors that might be hurting your score. Morsa Images / Getty Images

The first thing you’ll want to do is pull up a copy of your current report so you know where you stand. You can get free reports from all three agencies — TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax — at annualcreditreport.com. Nitzsche said it’s important to take a moment and understand the financial snapshot of where you are today and where you want to be.

You’ll also want to take some time and look for any errors on your report, which could negatively impact your score. “If your name is misspelled, that’s not going to hurt your score,” he explained. “But if you see a late payment or missed payment (that’s in error), or maybe you have an account that should be reporting but isn’t, then that’s a problem and that will impact your score.”

If there is an error, you should dispute it and try to provide as much proof as you can.

One other thing: You can also ask a creditor to remove an issue if it’s been corrected (i.e., if you paid off a collection debt). Nitzsche said it doesn’t hurt to ask and the worst thing they could say is no.

2. Have good financial habits

“The biggest part of your credit score is payment history, so the most critical thing is never missing a due date,” Nitzsche said. Set up a monthly autopay or add all due dates to your calendar so you never miss a bill.

You can also achieve a higher score when you mix different types of accounts on your credit report. It may seem counterintuitive to get extra points for having debt in the form of student loans, mortgages and auto loans, but as long as you’re paying them off responsibly, it shows that you’re reliable.

3. Aim to use 30% or less of your credit at any given time

Know your credit limit and aim to only use 30% or less of it for a better credit score.Tim Robberts / Getty Images

Know your credit card limit, and try not to use any more than 30% of that number each month, otherwise your score could lose points for too much credit utilization.

Another thing you can do is ask your bank to increase your limit. “That will give you more flexibility to spend more,” Nitzsche said. You could also pay it off twice a month to keep the balance low. But he does warn that you never know when the balance is going to be reported to the bureau. It can happen at any point during the month, so it might be the day after you make the payment or the day before. “You don’t necessarily want to use the card and pay it the next day because that doesn’t give the bureau the chance to know that you’re using it,” he said.

4. Avoid requests for new credit

If you’re looking to increase your score around the time you want to buy a house or car, you won’t want to open up a new line of credit, like a retail card, credit card or loan. That’s because “hard” credit inquiries like those can lower your score, and sometimes it comes down to a few points over whether you’re approved or what your rate will be, Nitzsche said.

“Soft” credit inquiries, like when an employer checks your credit or when you pull your own report, won’t affect your score.

5. Keep all accounts open, even ones you don’t use anymore

Even if you don’t use that credit card from college, it’s a good idea to just keep it open because closing it could hurt your score. Nitzsche explained that you’ll be dinged some points for each account that is closed. If you want or need to mentally break up with a card, just cut it up instead.

6. Build your credit if needed

If you haven’t established credit yet, you might not even exist … in the credit report space, that is! “If someone has never fallen in delinquency on any subscriptions or utilities or never had collections on anything and they have not utilized credit cards or loans in the past seven to 10 years, they may not have a credit profile at all,” Nitzsche said. “That presents a challenge when you want to buy a home.”

If this sounds familiar, you may have to get a secured credit card where you put down a deposit, he advised. “You still have to make payments and use it responsibly. Not all banks offer them but you can usually check with your local bank or credit union.”

7. Reach out for help

If you want personal guidance on boosting your credit score, make an appointment with a credit counselor.kate_sept2004 / Getty Images

There are many apps and credit-monitoring services that can help you stay on top of your credit score. You could also reach out to a professional credit counselor who can help you navigate your specific situation. (Here’s a good resource about finding a reputable service.)

One last thing: Nitzsche warned that everyone should beware of credit repair scams that claim to be able to increase credit scores for an advance fee to get accurate negative information removed (even temporarily) from credit reports.

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Lifestyle News | ⚡How J&G Credit Recreations Assists Individuals to Gain Financial Stability Through Credit and Homeownership – LatestLY

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Lifestyle News | ⚡How J&G Credit Recreations Assists Individuals to Gain Financial Stability Through Credit and Homeownership  LatestLY

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